Have you done all you can to ensure your home and property is secure whilst you are away on holiday?
Here are a few tips
- Inform a member of your family, local friend or trusted neighbour that you plan to go on holiday and let them know of the details of your holiday such as when you are leaving and when you are back home. Ask them to carry out day-to-day tasks such as removing post and free newspapers or going into the house every day to make it appear that the house is still occupied and being used. Always leave your contact address and/or telephone number with the person you are entrusting with the caretaking of your home. Be prepared to offer these people the same courtesy when they are planning their holiday.
- Cancel delivery of milk and newspapers – potential intruders will not be alerted to your absence by the build-up of milk and newspapers on your doorstep. If a potential intruder wants to check if someone has left their house unoccupied, one way they can do this is to look through the letterbox to see if there is a build-up of post lying on the floor by the door. To prevent this, either ask the person looking after your house to collect the mail and put it out of sight of prying eyes or use The Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service which will keep your mail for you while away.
- Timer switches and dusk till dawn sensors are a good idea for holiday security. They usually work as a mains socket adapter with a timer built in. The timer runs so long as the adapter is plugged in and the plug socket switched on. The timer can be then set to automatically give power to anything that is plugged into it such as lights, radios or other appliances. This gives the appearance that someone is in the property and helps to deter burglars. Before you leave ensure that valuable equipment, such as your TVs, videos, DVD Players or Hi-Fi equipment is placed where it cannot easily be seen from the outside. If the TV and Video are situated in a TV cabinet, close the doors of the cabinet before you go.
- Check your window security. 30% of all burglaries start with an unsecure window as an entry point. If need be, fit window locks. You may only be going a away for a week or two but window locks will provide security for your house whenever you leave it and are considered a good precaution to have all the time
- Try not to discuss holiday plans in public places where strangers may hear details, such as hairdressers etc. You never know who may be listening! Don’t let all 3000 “friends” on facebook or twitter know your plans- some of them may not be as friendly as you hope!
- Never put your full home address on your luggage when you are travelling. The smarter thief may be able to tell from this that you are away and have full details of your home. A name and postcode is sufficient.
- If there are valuable documents or items that you are leaving in your house while away. Place them in a safe, or consider using your bank’s safe custody facility.
- Ensure all sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked securely. if you are leaving a car, park it in a way that will stop anyone opening your garage doors, but insure the car keys are left in a secure place.
- Try to stop access around the side and rear of the house by locking any gates. If there is no lock fitted consider using a cycle lock, or padlock and chain.
- Keep BBQs, bicycles, ladders, lawnmowers secure and out of sight.
- Check all windows are secure, all patio doors and internal doors are locked. Some nightlatches can be double locked to stop anyone using the internal handle to leave the house. Keep all keys in a safe place, or with someone you trust.
- Unplug any unused appliances and consider turning off the gas and water, to avoid any unpleasant surprises on your return.