Five ways to help secure your home while you’re away including ensuring door locks are up to the task, not posting on social media and the house appearing occupied.
Don’t let your happy holiday memories be soured by a disruptive break in
It’s bad enough returning from holiday to cooler weather, possible jet lag and a carpet of mail waiting in the hallway without having to face the trauma of a break in that took place while you were away. Inevitably an empty house represents an opportunity for a thief so there’s more chance of a burglary when you jet off to sunnier climes – or even just slip away for a few days break.
What can you do to secure your home and enjoy peace of mind before leaving for that well-earned break?
Here are five ways:
Doors and locks
Ensure your locks are the most secure types possible. Your household insurance company will have a minimum standard for the type and specification of locks they’ll expect you to fit in order to keep within the terms of your policy, so ensure at least this standard is met. If the worst happens you don’t want to then be in dispute with them over a claim.
Check with a local reputable locksmith that your locks meet your insurer’s standards, and while you’re at it ask advice on what else you could do to beef up lock security; a high number of burglars gain access to properties through the front and other exterior doors.
Search for a suitable local professional online such as using the term ‘locksmiths Braintree’ and ask them to come and inspect your locks and other security provisions.
While you may be advised to change or upgrade your locks, it’s a worthwhile investment in your home security and provides peace of mind before departing.
Letting the grass grow is a key sign a property is unoccupied. It’s worth maybe asking a friendly neighbour or near neighbour to do it for you (you could return the favour when they’re away) or, failing that or if you have no near neighbours, pay someone to come and cut the grass while you’re away.
While you’re at it, ensure shrubs, trees and bushes haven’t grown so as to conceal suspicious activity around your property.
If you’re keen on posting to Facebook or enjoy sharing your photos on Instagram, it may be better to wait until your home.
Some thieves monitor social networking websites and information about your absence from home could prove useful to the wrong potential visitor. It’s also possible you could run into issues with your household contents insurer if you’ve posted details of being away while you’re on holiday.
Make your home look occupied
Leaving a light on is time honoured advice but still worth considering; of course you won’t leave a light on the entire time you’re away, but setting a timer to switch a lamp on and off here and there at appropriate times helps to make your home look lived in.
Reliable timers can be bought to operate lights while you’re away; some can also switch the radio or television on if you’d like to up the ante a little.
Asking a neighbour to leave a car on your drive at odd times can help – they may even appreciate the extra parking space if they have two or three cars in their household.
Arrange a regular visitor
A neighbour, trusted friend of family member could pop in and out of your home while you’re away to ensure post doesn’t collect on the doormat (a giveaway that the house is unoccupied if the hallway can be seen from the outside) and that circulars, free newspapers and other items are pushed through the letterbox all the way.
They may also open and close the odd curtain to make it look like there’s signs of occupation.
If a burglar is monitoring your property or your road in general, the sight of someone popping in and out periodically may help deter them from trying their luck.
Other steps involving a degree of investment could be taken before you go on holiday such as installing a burglar alarm, movement activated exterior lighting and a CCTV camera or two. These all undoubtedly act as deterrents to would-be thieves.
Ensure sensitive data and ID documentation is at least under lock and key in a cabinet or safe including your laptop – a thief can easily make off with it as it’s a potential gold mine of sensitive data about you they could use.
Don’t forget to cancel any regular deliveries such as newspapers and milk, and consider minimising your mail build up by using the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service where they keep your mail for a period until after you return.