Everybody loves to go on holiday, but none of us want to arrive home to find we have been burgled. In the rush to get away, it´s easy to forget the simple steps that can help keep your home safe and secure beyond just locking the door.
Statistics show that homes left unoccupied are more likely to be broken into and those that are empty for more than a month each year are 43% more likely to suffer a burglary. Burglars target homes that look empty, so make your home appear busy and lived in. It is a good idea to get help from neighbours or family, let them know your holiday plans and when you expect to return. You could also ask them to collect post, open and close curtains and put your rubbish bin out on your driveway to give your home that “lived in” feel.
“Home Secure” checklist:
- Ensure that all ground and basement windows are fitted with locks and make certain doors have dead bolt locks.
- Secure sliding glass doors with a metal bar or wooden dowel placed in the door track.
- Leave curtains slightly parted so your house doesn’t have an empty look, but don’t leave valuables or electronic equipment where burglars can see them through windows.
- Never leave an answering machine message indicating you’re not home. Simply say that you cannot take the call at that moment.
- Never leave door keys under a doormat or plant pot outside.
- If you have a monitored home security system, make sure it is working properly and has been properly tested at least 4 weeks before you go away. If you do not have a monitored alarm, consider having one installed because they are an effective deterrent.
- Use timer switches to turn lights on and off, giving your home the impression it is occupied. They are inexpensive, easy to operate and can be obtained from good DIY stores.
- If you have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area, let them know your plans so that they can help keep an eye on your property.
- Remember to cancel deliveries such as milk or newspapers. Uncollected mail acts as a signal that a house is not occupied.
- Avoid discussing holiday plans with strangers, you never know who they might pass the information on to.
- Secure important documents and valuable items in a safe place within your home or deposit them in a bank.
- Put your home address on a piece of paper inside your suitcase and not visible on the outside. If you are flying, don´t put the labels on your luggage until you get to the airport check-in.