We may live in what's statistically the safest part of England and Wales but unfortunately, crime does occur. An obvious target for the thief (opportunist or otherwise) is a clearly empty home so how can we deter any unwanted guests when we're elsewhere and trying to take a break? Make sure you double check all these possible vulnerabilities before you leave your home; prevention is better than cure.
1. Check all windows and doors to ensure they've been locked. It may seem incredibly obvious but the last half hour before a house is vacated tends to be a hurried affair with exciteable tempers and last-minute flapping being commonplace and the most basic things can be overlooked! Make sure your garage or any outbuildings have been properly secured and don't be tempted to leave any keys on display; fishing rods have long been a favourite of the burglar who spies keys on a hook or surface and manages to get them out through the letter box or similar. If you have a detached or secluded property, remember that a thief will be prepared to take extra time making the effort to break in if he's not being overlooked by neighbours. The privacy afforded by high hedges is a double edged-sword: if you can't see the road, passers-by can't see anyone lurking near your home. Lock up your property carefully as insurance companies are not obliged to pay out on a claim if you haven't taken 'reasonable care' of your responsibilities.
2. Mail sticking out of the letterbox or milk stacking up on the doorstep is another clear sign that the house isn't seeing regular occupation. Any goods like papers or deliveries need to be cancelled to save you money and wastage and this will also avoid the possibility of telltale signs that criminals love. Leaving a key with a trusted friend or neighbour is a very sensible and practical thing to do as they can check for mail etc daily and make sure that your home doesn't appear empty from the kerb.
3. Turn all of your electrical appliances off (except your fridge and/or freezer). Firstly, you'll be saving money and secondly, it reduces the risk of electrical fires – also be sure that you haven't left any heating or cooking equipment on. There is absolutely no need to have anything switched on apart from lighting timer switches that are a fantastic and practical investment for year-round use (very handy for Christmas tree lights too, even when you are home). Lights coming on at realistic times around the house, even if only very briefly in some areas, is a brilliant deterrent to help secure your home. If it's possible for you to have a car (whoever's it is) parked in the drive, even better. The idea is to perpetuate the impression that the family's home.
4. Don't broadcast your absence. We can't wait to go somewhere different but sharing our news in the supermarket queue may just be the information that a certain unwelcome somebody needs to decide to pay our empty home a visit – especially if they are then able to secretly follow you to your property and have a good look at the place whilst working out when you'll be gone.
Social media is a wonderful thing but also can advertise that there's nobody home: how could there be if you're sharing your photos of how beautiful Malta is at this time of year? You can't know who's looking at pictures of you on the internet so being careful and perhaps holding on until you return is a wise way of not declaring your residence.
Bear these simple tips in mind so that when you're away, you really can relax without worrying that anyone is able to take advantage of the fact that you aren't at home. Your holiday is a precious break from the daily grind so make sure there are no unpleasant discoveries to return to.
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Member since: 25th August 2015
Hi, I'm Vicki and I spend my days scouring our area from every possible media angle to make sure that our communities are as well informed as can be and have as many choices on how to spend their free...