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We all love a good holiday but if anything can change a holiday from great to terrible in a matter of moments it is finding out that your unattended home has been burgled. Burglars are opportunistic and if you leave your home unoccupied for a prolonged period and they can see that you’re away they may just take their chance. In this article we look at a series of things to do and not to do to keep your home safe when leaving it to go on holiday.
Don't tell everyone you're on holiday
This is an obvious one in many ways but also one of the easiest to overlook. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of going on holiday and post a simple Facebook status like, “Can’t wait for my holiday next week” but that status is not worth the risk that comes along with it. You cannot be sure who is seeing that post and to prospective burglars it is tantamount to hanging a neon sign saying, “easy target” from your front door. Resist all temptation to express your excitement and save social media updates for when you return home.
Don’t brandish your address
One of the worst things you can do is write your address on your luggage. If it goes missing anyone that comes across it has two things; your address, and the knowledge you’re on holiday. This is a bad combination as far as keeping your home safe. Instead use an alternative address such as your place of work.
Don’t leave your house looking unoccupied
There’s one thing we will continually come back to in this article and that is that burglars are opportunists. It is crucial to understand this because then you can act accordingly. If your home doesn’t look unattended then the chance someone will attempt a burglary is drastically lower. Here are some of the things to take into consideration when trying to stop your home looking vacant:
Are your curtains going to be permanently closed whilst you’re away? The answer should be no, this would be an obvious giveaway that no one is home. If possible have a friend or neighbour open and close them each day. If you don’t have anyone who can do this for you leave them open, you can still stop people peering into your home with partially closed blinds. The key is to not leave your home looking unattended.
Whether it is a newspaper or a parcel, uncollected deliveries draw attention. If a quick look through your letterbox will show a pile of uncollected deliveries, burglars will be quick to figure out that your home is being unattended. Simply having a friend or neighbour move your post for you can prevent this tell-tale sign. Alternatively, you could sign up for Royal Mail keepsake which allows you to hold you mail for up to 66 days.
Putting your lights on timers is another good way to replicate what a home would appear like from the outside if someone were there. If doing this, you should make sure that the light or lamp which is on a timer is not visible through a window as spotting the timer will only confirm your absence. You can also use photosensitive bulbs which will turn on once it reaches a certain level of darkness.
Do the gardening
If you are heading away for a couple of weeks do the gardening before you go. An overgrown and wilting garden is a clear indicator that no one is home. Simply mow the grass and water your plants. Again, if possible, have a neighbour or friend help by watering your plants for you whilst you’re away.
Do use appropriate security; home CCTV, alarms etc.
Nothing is fool proof. Whether some chancer figures out the house is unattended, or they simply see an opportunity a burglar could still try to enter your home despite all your preventative measures. This is why you should have your security sorted. Alarms should be set to alert your neighbours if anyone should try to break into your home. Atop of this it is important to have high quality CCTV cameras in place. Not only does CCTV act as a deterrent – burglars are opportunists, they don’t want to take any more risk than absolutely necessary for a successful burglary – but they could prove key in identifying and apprehending the culprit.
Do get a friend to help and do tell your neighbours about said friend
Throughout this article we have suggested having a friend help, whether that be watering your plants or opening your curtains but that in itself can cause suspicion. If your neighbours know you are on holiday, then seeing an unfamiliar face enter your home could be alarming to them. Make sure you introduce the person who will be helping you to your neighbours – the last thing you want is someone phoning the police on someone kind enough to offer a hand whilst you’re away.
Holidays are supposed to be fun but with the worry of how safe your home is hanging over your head it can be difficult to enjoy yourself at times. By following these dos and don’ts you will be able to dramatically reduce the odds of falling victim to burglars.
If you meet the following four criteria by following the steps outlined above your home and possessions will be significantly safer.
For more information on keeping yourself and your home safe visit CCTV 42 where we have a wide selection of helpful videos and articles as well as all the components you need for a great home security system.
22 March 2018