Top tips to protect your home while you’re away!

Summer time is officially here, time to take a break, catch some sun, and do some travelling!  Whether you’re taking a couple of days at the beach, or jetting off to a faraway land for a fortnight, give yourself peace of mind by planning ahead and securing your home.

Leaving your house empty can make it a target for burglars, but by taking precautions before you leave it will help you to relax without worrying about what’s happening at home.

1. Make your belongings yours

    1. Taking photos of your valuables, keeping a note of their serial numbers, and marking them with your phone number or postcode can be a great way of deterring theft.  It will also make them identifiable If they are ever taken.

2. Mind what you say

    1. It can be very tempting to tell everyone you see about a holiday you are excited about, but be careful what details you give away, especially on social media.  Keep any travel plans vague so you aren’t advertising that your house will be empty, giving prospective burglars an exact date and time window of when they can target your home.

3. Out of sight, out of mind

    1. By moving valuable items away from windows and doors you are taking the temptation out of the eye-line of thieves.  It is also a good idea to hide small valuables such as jewellery, but be careful not to use the “classic hiding places” e.g under the bed or in the underwear drawer, as these are the first places burglars would look.

4. Keep your house as you would if you were there

    1. It can seem like  a good idea to keep blinds and curtains drawn so people cannot see into your home – but having these closed during the day can be a dead giveaway that you aren’t there.  Try to keep you house looking as it normally would, thinking about any post that may build up, cancelling any deliveries that may show up such as newspapers or milk, and setting lights on a timer so they come on at varying intervals.

5. Ask a friend

      1. One of the best ways to give you peace of mind is by having a trusted friend or neighbour check in on your house while you’re away.  They can collect post, water plants, take out the bins or even park their car in your driveway from time to time to help give the impression that someone is living in the house.  If you have more than one person checking in, make sure they know about each other! It is also good to leave them with any alarm codes or emergency numbers as well as a contact number for you and your itinerary so they can get hold of you if they need to.

6. Lock down

          1. It is a good idea to disconnect this so it cannot be opened with a remote.  Make sure any outdoor belongings are also locked away, such as tools or ladders which may be used to gain entry to your home.
      1. When you are leaving, make sure all windows and doors are locked, deadbolts used and any of the keys are put out of view, not left in the locks.  If you have an electric garage door it may also be a good iey outside – it will be found.

7. Set your alarm

Making sure your alarm is in working order and set before you leave will be some of your best protection.  A visible bell box and external lights are a strong deterrent for criminals.  It is also possible to link your alarm system and CCTV cameras to your smartphone, tablet or laptop, giving you the option of viewing your premises from wherever you are.

8. The final check

    1. Once you’re sure you’ve done all you can to protect your house, don’t fall at the last hurdle and hand thieves all they need.  Be sure not to label luggage tags with your home address or landline.  Use your email address and mobile phone number so not to give away the location of your empty home.  Do not leave your Sat-Nav in your car in an airport car park either.  Although they are usually secure, it is clear that you will be gone for a while and the Sat-Nav can easily direct the thief directly to your home.

Hopefully these tips will help you to think of some things you may have missed and ensure your home is as secure as possible so you can relax and enjoy your well-earned holiday!