Everyone loves a good holiday. It’s a chance to get away and leave the stress behind. Unfortunately, it also means leaving your home behind. And there’s nothing burglars love more than an unprotected home. It allows for easy access and gives them time to work without fear of interruption.
A lack of activity at a property is one of the primary reasons a burglar targets a house. This lack of activity can be indicated by:
- Houses that appear vacant or unoccupied
- Rubbish bins left out on the curb
- No lights inside the house at night
- No vehicles in the driveway
- An overflowing mailbox
Just about all of these indicators can be by-products of going on vacation.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to secure your home before you go on holiday. Not only will these tips discourage potential burglars, but they will also give you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without stressing about your home.
- Secure Doors and Windows
Open or poorly secured doors and windows are among the first things burglars look for. While it’s unlikely you’ll go on holiday and leave a door or window open, if they aren’t properly secured they could be targets for break ins.
Ensure that all doors and windows are fitted with secure (and visible) locks. Doors should ideally be fitted with deadlocks. For extra security you could look at investing in window bars or specialist security doors. Securing these primary points of entry is the first step in keeping your home safe while on holiday.
- Invest in Monitored Alarm System and Security Cameras
A monitored alarm system is a great way to not only have a professional security company watch over your home, but to be able to check in yourself. The latest alarm systems can also include internal and external home security cameras that you can access via your smartphone. With these wi-fi enabled cameras, you can check in on the real-time footage from anywhere in the world.
These systems include motion sensors that alert your monitoring company in case of entry or disturbance at home. They can also be set up to send you email or text alerts when the cameras or sensors are activated. A good monitored alarm and camera systems will give you the extra peace of mind knowing that professionals are watching over your home and that you can check in any time.
- Get Smart with Lighting
A lack of light inside and outside the house at night is a clear indication that a house is unoccupied. That makes the strategic use of light one of the most successful ways of deterring burglars. However, leaving lights on while on vacation is a waste of electricity and money. Installing sensor lights around the outside of your house is a great way to deter break ins. Inside the house, you can use timers to turn on lights in the evening.
For complete control of your lighting, you could even go all out and install a smart home system. This allows you complete control over your home’s interior and exterior lighting via a smartphone app.
- Talk to Friends and Neighbours
Before you go on holiday, have a chat with your neighbours. Let them know the dates you’ll be away and find out if they’d be willing to keep an eye on your place. If you have neighbours you really trust, you can even leave a set of keys with them and get them to check the house from time to time. Having someone coming and going from the house can discourage burglars.
You might also want to ask your neighbours to collect your mail while you’re away. Mail piling up in the letter box or on the doorstep is a clear signal to burglars that there’s no one home.
If you’re taking your car with you on holiday, you could also find out if your neighbours are willing to park their car in your driveway.
If you don’t have neighbours that you’re comfortable with, speak to any friends who live nearby and see if they would be willing to visit your home from time to time. Any kind of visible activity will help to convince burglars that there are still people coming and going from the property.
- Secure Valuables
Any valuables, especially those visible through windows, will be a huge target for burglars. Before you leave for vacation, ensure that you have safely and securely stowed any valuables. The most targeted valuables include cash, laptops, jewellery, cameras, televisions and phones. Where possible, keep valuables stored in a safe or leave them with friends. If this isn’t convenient, ensure that no valuables are visible through windows or from the street.
- Consider the Street View
Opportunistic burglars will look for outward signs that a home is either unoccupied or easy to access. Look at your property from the street and see if there is anything that might appeal to a burglar. Some common signs to look for include:
- Climbing points like overhanging branches or lattices
- Hidden access points like side windows
- Dark points or trees or hedges that obscure the street view
- Valuables visible through front windows
- Unsecured front windows
- Front doors without deadlocks
- Untended front yard
- Uncollected mail
- No car in driveway
Try address any of these issues before leaving for a holiday.
- Stay off Social Media
Try to resist the urge to announce your holiday plans on social media. Publicly announcing your travel plans effectively lets a whole pool of people know that your house will be unoccupied big mistake.
Taking a little bit of time to properly secure your home before you go on holiday will give you peace of mind while you’re away and ensure you don’t come home to any nasty surprises.