How to avoid being burgled while away on holiday
Summer is approaching, and for many of us thoughts turn to our forthcoming holidays. As well as buying sun cream, reading up on tourist attractions at our chosen destinations and booking the dog into kennels, we all need to make sure our homes are ready to be left unoccupied for a week or two.
Nothing is worse for bursting that post-holiday bubble than coming home to a break in so here are 10 ideas for keeping your house secure while you’re away:
1. Lock up
It seems too obvious but it’s really important to go round and ensure that all windows and doors are locked up properly. Upstairs windows can be easy to miss but they can still be vulnerable, especially at the back of a property, where it’s easier to go unseen. If you’re heading off in the early hours to catch a flight, do this the night before because it’s something you may skip or just forget if you’re running late.
2. Set the burglar alarm
Many people have an alarm but don’t always use it. Obviously we would advise against this but if it does apply to you and if you never use it any other time, make sure it’s set for when you’re away. If you haven’t used it for a while you should really have it serviced to make sure it’s in full working order (you will not be popular with the neighbours if it faults repeatedly for the 2 weeks you’re away!).
If you don’t have an alarm it would be a good idea to consider getting one to improve your security all year round, not just when you’re away.
3. Keep in touch with your security
If you want that extra reassurance while you are away many alarms can be set up to send a message to your mobile phone if there is an activation. If you want to be able to see that your home is OK you can use a camera system that you can log into via the internet or via a smart phone and check in with as often as you want .
4. Third party monitoring
If you want someone to keep an eye on the property but don’t fancy the hassle of logging in yourself while away, you could consider a monitoring package for your alarm so that you know any activation of the alarm will be acted upon in your absence. Let them know that you will be away and where to contact you if necessary.
5. Anti-social media
Social media is fast becoming one of the greatest alerting tools at a thief’s disposal. Announcing that you’re away, checking in in far flung places or even just not turning off location services when you post make it obvious that you’re not home. Don’t rely on your posts only being seen by people on your own Friends lists either; depending on your privacy settings, they could be seen much by a much wider audience.
6. Neighbourhood watch
Don’t broadcast your absence around the area but if you have a trusted neighbour, ask them to keep an eye on the house for you. Ideally, if they could pop in daily and open curtains/turn lights on and off that would be great but if that’s too much the odd call in to move post and see that all’s ok is better than nothing. If they have more than one car at their home perhaps they could park in your drive while you’re away?
7. House sitter
If you have a trusted friend or family member who could stay at the house at least some of the time you’re away that can be great for security, as long as they are as vigilant as you at locking up and setting alarms etc. This is especially fortuitous if you have pets they can look after. A young adult still living at home with parents or a student looking for a better standard of accommodation for a couple of weeks may appreciate the opportunity as much as you appreciate the help! (Some ground rules on parties may be required!)
8. Make your home look occupied
Timers that operate lights, curtains or radios/TVs can be useful, particularly if you can vary the time settings. If post building up would be visible from the outside, eg through a glass door, then find a way to disguise it (if nobody can call in and move it). Cancel newspaper/milk/veg box/grocery deliveries so they don’t mount up.
9. Secure your garden
Don’t forget about the garden. Lock up the garage and any sheds or outbuildings. Make sure there are no items are left out that can be used to access your property such as tools, ladders and barbeques. If you can lock any gates that access the garden then do so and consider having motion sensor security lighting around the property.
10. Safeguard your valuables
Obviously you want to focus on stopping the burglary from happening, however if someone does get in, despite your best efforts, minimise what they can take. Consider buying a good safe and putting smaller items like jewellery, gadgets and cash in there. Even if you are away in your car, put spare keys out of sight as they could come back and take your car at a later date. (BTW, they know you hide things in your sock drawer/wardrobe/under the bed so don’t leave anything there!).
It may not be practical to take all of these measures and you have to make a judgement on the level of risk you face in your area but if you do follow a few of these tips they should help ward off would-be intruders and allow you to enjoy your holiday.
If you would like any further advice on any of the security systems mentioned, including burglar alarms, CCTV, safes or locks, then call us on 0800 612 9799 (from a landline) or 0345 833 5543 (from a mobile).