Tuesday, 8 July 2014

From Outdoor Security Lights to Wheelie Bins: How to Safeguard your Home While You’re on Holiday

For many of us summer is the most exciting time of the year. We swap our work suits for swimsuits and the office for the poolside to enjoy a week or two of luxury. However, before we leave it is important to ensure that our home is not going to attract unwanted attention.

Something that plays on our minds when we are on holiday is the idea that nobody is at home, leaving it susceptible to burglars. The last thing anybody wants is to return to an empty house that has been violated by an opportunist burglar.

So what can you do to protect your home while you are away?

The Basics

  • It might sound obvious but a lot of people leave their windows unlocked when they leave the house, particularly the upstairs ones. All windows and doors should be locked until you return from your trip.
  • Even windows that are higher up should be locked. A lot of people don’t realise how easy it is for their home to be scaled by an intruder so make sure that any possible entrance is secured.
  • It is common for burglars to enter the garage before they break into the house. This is to obtain tools which will assist the burglary of the house. It is therefore paramount that the garden and shed are also secure.
  • Activate the burglar alarm. Worryingly, many reformed burglars have reported that most of their burglaries took place on homes where alarms were left inactivated or ignored. Activate the alarm even if you are only away for the weekend because there is no set time for when burglars will approach. 

Hide Your Belongings

  • Hopefully nobody will break into your home but in case they do you should hide your valuables in the most obscure place. Invest in a solid safe so that if somebody does find it they will have difficulty getting into it.
  • Burglars usually stay in your house for 10 minutes or less. This means that they are very limited in where they can look. Try not to hide things in plant pots, drawers, wardrobes, behind the toilet, or in the underwear drawer as these are obvious places for burglars to look.
  • A children’s toy box or beneath a cot is a good idea as most burglars will not think to look here, another alternative might be in a hollowed-out book.
  • They do not want to hang around so once a burglar has found what they consider the “best stuff” they will leave. Photocopy old, useless documents and leave some cash near it. The intruder will assume that they have found everything useful and leave while your real documents and valuables will remain safe.
Ask a Friend

  • Ask a neighbour or friend to check on your house every day so that if anything untoward did take place the police can be informed immediately.
  • It was once commonly believed that one should always leave the curtains closed when they went away. However, having the curtains closed all day and night can actually function as a very noticeable signal to burglars that nobody is currently staying in the house.
  • Instead ask a neighbour to simply open the curtains in the morning and close them in the evening.
  • If you usually have quite a neat front garden then ask your neighbour / friend to give it a quick mow once a week. An unkempt lawn can also signal that nobody has been at home for a while.
  • Another tip is to ask your friend to continue putting rubbish out. Even if there is no rubbish put the wheelie bin out so that it appears as if somebody has been in during the week. Similarly, a dog is thought to put intruders off so a warning sign or simply leaving a doggy toy on the lawn is worthwhile.

Be Private

  • You might be excited at the prospect of going away but don’t be tempted to tell everybody you know.
  • Social media can compromise your privacy and ultimately your safety if you’re not careful.
  • Danniella Westbrook recently complained that she was broken into twice in a short period of time. Interestingly during one of these occasions she allegedly tweeted that she was stuck in traffic on the motorway. This might have been purely coincidental but possibly the intruders followed her on Twitter, recognised that she was away from home, and identified an opportunity.
  • If you are going away on holiday try not to constantly post about it. Wait until you have returned home and then post all the pictures and statuses that you want.
  • All it takes is for you to be friends with one burglar unknowingly, or for a criminal to know somebody whom you are friends with and they can see all of your information.

Outdoor Security Lights

  • One of the most effective ways to deter burglars is through outdoor security lights.
  • P-lux lights are built with tri-sensor technology which enables them to sense light, temperature, and movement. This means that if any burglar creeps past them during the night they are instantly drenched in light.
  • Putting lights on the floor can help you in the evening to see where you are going. However some people worry that this also guides a potential intruder directly to the front door. Situate some lights higher up, attached to the house itself, so that the intruder is made visible if they go near the door.
  • Make sure you have lights near the back door, the patio doors, and any other potential entrance ways so that burglars are made visible from whatever direction they approach your home.
  • As well as adding lights, make sure that you trim back bushes before you leave home. An overgrown bushy area is a great hiding place for intruders so be sure to make your garden as neat as possible before you leave.

If you would like to find more information about how you can add outdoor security lights to help protect your garden then please explore our website or call us on 01773 541 003.

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