Leaving the Home Secure Whilst on Holiday
Homes are at great risk from burglary when their occupants go away on holiday, but their vulnerability can be minimised by hiding signs of vacancy and leaving the property secure.
The High Risk of BurglaryFree newspapers stacked in the porch, curtains all closed, and an all round feeling of eerie calm - the longer a house is unoccupied, the stronger such telltale signals become, and the more apparent the emptiness is to the casual observer and, in particular, the burglar.
The burglar is on the look out for properties that look unoccupied but lived in, and so readily pick up on these ‘empty house’ signals. Houses where the occupants are on holiday for a longer period are therefore at a high risk because they inevitably give off stronger signals.
Keep the Home Looking OccupiedBurglars like to go about their business unobserved and undisturbed and so very rarely target a property that might be occupied. Therefore the best method of deterring a burglar is not a burglar alarm or guard dog, but simply in making sure a house always looks like there’s somebody at home.
This is relatively easy to do if you’re just going out for the afternoon or evening – you might leave the radio on or a light – but not so simple when the family is off on holiday for a week or two. So although making a home appear a constant hive of activity may be beyond all but the most inventive people, everybody can make sure a house isn’t shouting out ‘occupants on holiday’ by avoiding any telltale signs of emptiness.
Telltale SignsHow is it obvious that a house’s occupants have gone on holiday? There are several key pointers:
- The curtains are closed during the daytime, open during the night, or semi-open all of the time.
- Post is stacked up in the porch or hasn’t been taken out of the letterbox.
- Full milk bottles have been left outside untouched.
- The lawn is overgrown.
The Friendly NeighbourIf you have a friendly trusted neighbour then you could ask them to keep an eye on your house and help make it look lived-in whilst you’re away, and perhaps reassure them by promising to do the same for them in return.
They could help by opening and closing the curtains, switching on lights in the evenings, collecting post, mowing the lawn and even perhaps by sometimes leaving their car on your driveway. Nevertheless it's sensible not to rely on someone for everything, and so it's best to cancel any milk or paper deliveries before departure and make use of Royal Mail's letter and parcel holding service.
Timed Curtains and LightsIf the neighbours are not too keen on the idea then timed lights and timed curtains might prove a good alternative. These useful electronic devices can be used to set particular times at which the lights go on and off and when the curtains open and close.
Basic Precautions Before DepartureBefore leaving on your travels it is worthwhile taking extra care in checking that all doors and windows are locked securely, and if there is a burglar alarm that it is set.
If you have valuable items in the shed, such as bikes or tools, then it might be a good idea to store them in the house over the holiday period. Also, if there are any items of particular value in the house, such as important confidential documents, and there isn’t a safe, then it is worth leaving these things with friends or family.