Written by Sophie Mills
If you have a trip booked this summer, the last thing you want to be doing whilst you’re away is worrying about your home security. You’ve worked hard all year round and you deserve your well-earned break. Holidays are important and at some point this summer you hopefully have something booked that you are looking forward to. The last thing you want is a phone call to say that you have been burgled while you’re away. If you’re one of those people who often worry about your home security we can help and try to put your mind at ease. Follow our top tips to make sure you are totally protected so that you can go away and relax knowing your property is secure in your absence.
1. Tilt your blinds
The question as to whether you leave your blinds open or closed when your away from home is very debateable. Some argue that you should leave your blinds closed at all times to stop a potential burglar from peering in and seeing what is inside. However, it is then blatant that no one is at home.
Some homeowners prefer to keep their blinds open. This is particularly effective if you have a good relationship with your neighbours as you can give them the keys to your home and ask them to close them at night. Or you could ask a close friend, relative or colleague to do this for you instead. This gives the impression that someone is at home.
It is not recommended that you change your usual routine before going away. If you keep your blinds/curtains open when you leave the house in the morning then you should keep them open when you are away on holiday as well. If this is the case, make sure that all valuables are hidden away, out of sight.
We advise leaving your blinds tilted, even when you are at home, so that nobody knows whether you are in or out to obscure view into the inside of your home. Don’t let your home be a ‘shop window’ to burglars by leaving valuables in plain sight.
2. Control Lighting
When it comes to home security, one of the key things to do when you are away from your home is to make it look occupied. There are several ways to do this but one of the most effective ways it to use light timers. They allow you to control your lighting by setting specific on and off times. Before you leave for your holiday, allocate time to set the timers for times when you would usually switch lights on. This gives the impression that someone is at home ultimately deterring any would-be thieves. However, burglars are smarter than you think and can still gauge whether your home or not.
If you opt for smart light switches, you can turn your lights on and off via an app on your smartphone. This gives you the ability to turn lights on and off sporadically, mimicking human activity, making it harder for a thief to determine whether you’re home or not and therefore less likely for them to break in. You can buy them here.
3. Ask Friendly Neighbours
Having a good relationship with your neighbours is an effective home burglary deterrent. They can be a great help while you’re away. By asking them to keep an eye on your home and carry out some simple tasks can be the answer to protecting your home. Such tasks include collecting post, parking their car on your driveway, drawing blinds and curtains in the evening and putting your bins out. Leaving bins out for days and letting post pile up give a sheer indication that nobody is at home.
If you don’t have anybody, who you can trust close by that can keep an eye on your home while you are away or if you go away for business trips for long periods of time or go abroad regularly then we advise investing in a home security system. For extra peace of mind, you can opt for professional monitoring which means that a team of professionals watch over your home 24/7 and are ready to take action in the event that your alarm activates.
4. Avoid posting on social media
Going on holiday is an exciting time so it is tempting to want to share your excitement with your friends across your social media channels. If you have a public social media account, you could be letting opportunist burglars know that your home will be empty for a couple of weeks. When you’re tagging locations or checking-in to certain places you are making people aware of your whereabouts. You never know who is reading your information or who they could tell, particularly if your account is public. We recommend checking your privacy settings and make sure that you are happy with who you are sharing your information with. Nearly half of burglars know their victim according to a recent survey by Eco-experts. Only let immediate friends and family know that you are going away and wait until you have returned home to share your holiday snaps online.
5. Complete a general security check before you leave
It goes without saying to make sure you double check that all your windows and doors are locked securely before you leave your property. It is easy to forget to do this with all the things you have to think of before heading out the door but it is important to allocate some time to carry out some last minute safety checks.
Ensure all sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked securely too. You may not think you have anything valuable is stored in your outbuildings but if you have items such as ladders or tools these may help the burglar to gain access to your property.
It’s also important to turn off and unplug any electrical appliances in order to reduce the risk of fire and it can also help to save on energy too.
6. Invest in home security
Security is key to providing peace of mind whether you’re on holiday, walking the dog or asleep at night. Effective security starts outside and with a visible alarm bell box not only will this emit a loud siren in the event of a break-in, alerting neighbours and the surrounding area, but will often cause most opportunists to make a swift exit. In addition to this, CCTV cameras are powerful burglar deterrents. 12 former burglars said that a camera was their biggest deterrent according to a survey by the Co-Op in 2017. The sheer presence of an outdoor camera is an excellent addition to an existing or new home security system and will deter most criminals.
Forgot to set your alarm with everything you had to think of before heading to the airport? Most modern alarms systems allow you to activate and deactivate your system remotely via an app on your compatible smartphone so if you sometimes forget to set it, it isn’t a problem.
If you have a home security system already, to make sure it is in full working order, we advise getting it serviced regularly. We also advise considering getting your alarm connected to a monitoring station for extra security and peace of mind. This means that professionals will keep an eye on your home 24/7 and will alert you, the police and the other relevant authorities (if you have paid for the service and you have an active URN) if an activation should occur.
By following the above tips, you can help to dramatically reduce the risk of being burgled while you’re away leaving you to concentrate on relaxing. We hope you have a wonderful holiday!
If you would like any further help or advice regarding home security, please get in touch with one of our experts on 01204 393883 or Freephone 0800 328 0462.