Going away for the summer holidays? This is a prime time for burglars to target your home and premises. The majority of home burglaries happen when no one is at home so going on vacation is the perfect time for criminals to strike. Homes with no security measures in place are far more likely to be the victim of burglary than those with even simple and easily actionable security measures. Thieves want to be in and out of your home as quickly as possible so anything you can do to slow them down is going to help deter them. The weeks leading up to your summer holiday can be a hectic time, with packing, planning and preparation but one of the most important plans you can make is a plan to prevent your home being burgled.
Secure your windows and doors
Most burglars enter through a door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in, so anything you can do to better secure your doors will help prevent your home from being targeted. Sliding glass doors should also be addressed. Most burglars won’t want to smash these as they can cause a lot of noise, place a sawed off broom handle, or other long piece of wood in the track to prevent the door from being opened.
While most burglars enter through the front door, many also choose to enter via windows, particularly those that are left unlocked. Before going on holiday make sure all your windows have locks and are locked, especially any that are easy to get to.
Make your home look occupied
When you’re on holiday, make sure your home appears occupied. Purchase an automatic device before you go away that can be programmed to turn lights, the television and radio on at specified times to make it look like someone is home. Also ensure you’ve cancelled your paper and other goods to be delivered while you’re away, or have a close neighbour or friend take care of them for you.
Don’t attract burglars to your home
Don’t make it easy for burglars to get inside. Make sure all stools, tools, ladders, spare bricks, etc. are stored out of site as a burglar may be more likely to target your home if you leave tools around making it easier for them to get in your home. Deter burglars from your home by keeping hedges trimmed (don’t give them a good place to hide) and have loose gravel and stones that will make noise as the burglar approaches.
Another good idea is to lower your landline telephone volume and have your voicemail pick up after only one or two rings, this way burglars scoping out your house won’t be able to tell that no one is home by someone not picking up the phone.
Also make sure your home has a very visible and clear street number. This ensures that if your home was targeted the responding police officers would be able to find the right home quickly and easily. This will also deter burglars from targeting your home.
Hide your valuables
Make sure all of your expensive items are out of site. Your big screen television should not be seen from the street and your new laptop or tablet should not be seen through the window of your first floor office. If the burglar does make it inside your home, you want it to be as difficult as possible for them to find your valuables. Keep small valuables locked in a safe, with the safe bolted down.
Who to tell and who not to tell
Don’t attract burglars by advertising that you’ll be away over the summer to the wrong people. Don’t let people know you’ll be going away through social media, even if you think you know your network. This information could easily fall into the wrong hands. Don’t post live updates or summer holiday snaps on your travels, instead update your accounts when you return.
Do notify close neighbours that you’ll be away so that they can keep an eye and ear out for your home while you’re gone. You can also notify your local police department that you’ll be away. Do also tell the neighbourhood watch group in your area, this will give you peace of mind that people are watching out for your home and property while you’re on holiday.
Keep your security system on
Make sure your security system is programmed correctly and is switched on before you leave for your summer break. Studies show burglars are less likely to break into a home with a security system, especially if your security system is advertised to would-be burglars by having signs placed in windows, etc. Do not be tempted to use stock, faux security system signs as these are markers to criminals that you do not in fact have a good security system in place.
Keep your outbuildings secure
It’s not just your home you have to think about securing before your summer holidays but also any outbuildings on your property. Make sure your shed and other outbuildings are safe from thieves by having a secure lock on the door and any windows. Avoid having your items stolen by covering any valuables so they are out of direct site and mark your property with your name and postcode. Consider moving any truly valuable items, like expensive tools or bikes into the more secure, main house. You can also purchase shed alarms that will respond to movement with a loud siren.
For more information on how to safeguard your property from burglars this summer, see our help infographic on holiday burglar prevention.