We all look forward to going away on holiday, but not enough of us consider what being away can mean for our homes. Millions of people go on holiday in the UK every year, especially around the school holidays, and there are plenty of thieves waiting to take advantage.
It is estimated that around 80% of home burglaries in the UK occur when a home is empty. The truth is that thieves know exactly what to look for when picking out targets, and if they can tell that you and your family are away on holiday then your home will suddenly become much more attractive to them.
Luckily, home security can be broken down into a few fairly simple areas; if you can get these covered, you should have no problems keeping your home safe when you’re on holiday!
The first step in home security is completely securing the entrances to your property. You may have heard that a good way to keep burglars away is to leave a window open and make them think that someone is home. Alternatively, you might just want to air your property out while you’re away. However, open entrances are some of the biggest targets that burglars look for.
Check that the locks for all of your windows and doors are working properly, and make sure that they are fully secured before you leave. If you find that any of your locks are faulty, speak to a qualified local locksmith and have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Once you have finished checking your doors and windows, the next step will be to examine the security in your garage and shed. Your garage doors will need to be securely locked: even if it does not provide an entrance for your home, thieves can still target items like tools or even appliances. The same goes for your shed: in a worst case scenario, a tool left in an unlocked shed could be used to gain entry to your main property! At the very least, your shed should be secured with a heavy padlock.
Another thing to think about is internal security: do you keep valuables in your home? If you have items like jewellery, cash or family heirlooms lying around, you could benefit from booking a safe box installation service. This gives you an added line of defence if a thief actually manages to break into your property. As an added bonus, installing a safe box will also make your treasured items much cheaper to insure!
Something that I cannot stress enough is that you should never leave a spare key hidden around the front of your property. This is a needless risk, and there are plenty of places that a thief will know to look for your hidden keys.
Of course, it should go without saying that having a burglar alarm installed in your property will make it much more secure. Even a simple alarm will alert neighbours, and likely scare any thieves into fleeing your property before taking anything. If you do not have one, consider booking a burglar alarm installation service with a recommended home security specialist.
There are several pieces of classic advice on how disguising your home to make it look as though you aren’t on vacation can keep burglars away. While it is a bad idea to rely only on these tricks to keep a property safe, there are a few which will make your home look like less of a target.
First of all, arrange a lawn mowing service: long, unkempt grass is a classic sign that a homeowner is away. You should also be sure to remove any washing from your lines, including from any racks by your windows. Closed curtains or blinds during the day are an obvious sign for burglars, so open yours before you leave.
It may sound strange, but one of the best ways to make your house less of a target is to not brag about your holiday on social media. If you do not have your privacy settings turned on, then anyone could see your posts. If they know where you live and when you are away, then your home could become al target. You may be looking forward to sharing details of your holiday while you are away, but until you get back you should think about making it so that only friends can see your posts.
If you have taken the time to have a burglar alarm installed on your property, the security company may be able to provide some kind of sign that your home is protected. If a thief sees one of these on a property, they know to stay away.
Proper lighting is one of the best ways to keep your property safe while you are on holiday. You may have been told that all you need to do is leave your lights on in order to fool thieves, but there are two problems with this theory: firstly, lights that are constantly on 24/7 can seem like an obvious trick to experienced thieves, and secondly doing so will waste a great deal of electricity.
There are a few alternatives to this. A popular option is to buy an electronic timer to turn your lights on and off at given points. However, pre-programmed patterns can, again, be easy to spot for a thief who knows that they are doing.
A better option is to have an electrician install motion-activated lights at the front and rear of your house. A thief that is suddenly caught in one of the lights will know that your house is protected, and will look elsewhere.
Over the last few years, home security has been revolutionised by smart technology. The right smart controls for your home can help you to keep it completely burglar-free whenever you are away.
Fully integrated smart security systems offer a number of methods for keeping your home safe. Smart controls can allow you to access live video feeds remotely, or even alert the authorities if you believe that your home may be at risk. They can also give you remote control over utilities such as lighting, or even over electronic locks.
While smart security systems offer a number of advantages, it is still important to make sure that the system you buy is suitable for your home. Speak a local home security specialist or home automation specialist about the best option to suit you.
Philip is always on the lookout for properties that inspire. He knows how frustrating home improvements and maintenance can be, which is why he covers everything from loft conversions to radiator repair! Phil’s main interest is in modern properties, with a particular soft spot for skyscrapers.