As the summer holiday season approaches, a checklist of jobs you need to undertake to protect your home as much as possible from burglars while away has been revealed.
It includes making sure that your home continues to look lived in, with no big giveaway that nobody is at home including an accumulation of post, packages and bottles of milk at the front door.
There is also the issue of social media and making sure that you don’t advertise that your home is empty by posting beach photos while you are away.
Top ten tips for protecting your home while you’re away on a summer holiday are revealed
It is all about trying to ensure that a thief cannot work out if you are at home or away on holiday.
Darren Black, of Nationwide Building Society, said: ‘The vast majority of burglaries are opportunistic, targeting normal people living in everyday homes.
‘To reduce the likelihood of your home becoming a target, you need to make the task for the burglar just that little bit less appealing by making it harder to break in or making it look more likely that they will be caught.
‘The good news for homeowners is that many measures can be put in place at minimal cost.’
Tips include using anti-climb paint as many burglars obtain access to your home using drain pipes, low fences, or walls that are easy to climb
Michele Bennett, of ADT, agreed, saying: ‘Unfortunately, thieves are smart and opportunistic, so while it can seem there are an endless number of things to do to prepare for a holiday, ensuring you spend enough time securing your property is essential.
‘Locking your doors and windows may seem an obvious step, but the stress of preparing for a holiday can leave you forgetting to do the most simple tasks.
‘Be sure to remove any keys from doors, that all windows are fully closed and not left on the latch, and do a final check before leaving your home.’
Mrs Bennett added: ‘Getaways are exciting, and it can be tempting to tell everyone all about your holiday.
‘However, burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential properties. Sharing updates on social media while you’re away may seem harmless, but ultimately leaves your property at risk, so be sure to wait until you are back home to post about your time away.
‘Making your house look lived in is essential while you’re away.
‘There’s no bigger giveaway that nobody is home than the accumulation of post, packagers, or bottles of milk at the front door and this is exactly what opportunistic burglars look out for.
‘Pausing these services is an easy way of deterring any thieves from identifying your property as a target.
‘Additionally, you need to be clever with your lights, don’t just program them to turn on at the same time every day.
‘Have them switch on at random times throughout the day to really offset burglars – if a thief can’t figure out whether or not you’re home, they’re unlikely to risk trying to break in.’
ADT has revealed a list of the top ten ways to protect your home while you’re away on holiday.
Thieves look for escape routes and hiding spots when deciding which homes to break into, meaning gardens with high, overgrown hedges are more likely to be targeted
Top ten tips to protect your home…
1. Don’t leave empty milk bottles with a note
If you regularly receive a milk delivery, pause your order before departing for your holiday.
The best way to do this is by contacting your milk delivery service directly, rather than leaving empty milk bottles with a note attached.
This is a common mistake that potential thieves may pick up on.
2. Postpone your mail service
The accumulation of post in your mailbox is clear evidence of inactivity in your home.
To prevent this, contact your local post office or apply online to request the postponement of your mail service for the time you are away.
Once you’ve returned from your trip your post will be delivered to you, meaning you won’t miss any important mail.
3. Pause or reschedule any deliveries
Expecting packages while you’re away? Delivery drivers may leave your parcels in what they consider a ‘safe place’, assuming you’ll be home shortly to pick it up.
However, a pile of parcels is a clear indication to burglars that you’re on holiday. To avoid being targeted, ask a neighbour to collect any parcels for you or re-schedule any deliveries.
4. Secure your windows and doors
Make sure to secure all windows and doors, remove any keys from locks or where intruders can see them and bring in your spare key from its hiding spot.
Before you leave, spare a few minutes to walk around your home to double-check everything is secure – worth it for the safety of your property and for your peace of mind.
5. Make slippery slopes
Many burglars obtain access to your home using drain pipes, low fences, or walls that are easy to climb.
Investing in anti-climb paint will leave a sleek, more slippery surface that will make surfaces difficult for thieves to scale.
6. Clean up your garden
Thieves look for escape routes and hiding spots when deciding which homes to break into, meaning gardens with high, overgrown hedges are more likely to be targeted.
Before you leave, give your garden a thorough tidy-up to make your property less likely to be targeted while you’re away.
7. Ensure your house looks lived in
You may be tempted to leave your lights on for the whole time you are away, but thieves will spot this.
Using automatic timer switches for turning on a few well-appointed lights and a radio or TV will ensure your house does not seem empty.
Be sure to have lights come on at different times throughout your time away to really deter any thieves.
Smart plugs allow you to remotely turn off and on devices plugged into these devices and you can also have them turn lamps on when motion is detected by camera devices outside your property.
And some outdoor cameras also have two-way audio so you can warn off anyone on your property and emit a high pitch siren to deter any further encroachment.
8. Keep your holiday off social media
Social media is used by burglars to find empty houses, with thieves watching Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to work out when residents are away.
Avoid posting about your break on any social media platforms while you’re away and instead wait until you are back home to update your friends and family about your trip.
9. Get a trusted companion to help you out
Asking a family member, friend or neighbour to come over every day will create the illusion that someone is living in your house.
Ask them to move any post, open and close blinds and curtains, and park a car in your driveway, to put off any potential burglars who could be monitoring your home.
10. Take control of your home security
From automating your home to making it look like you’re in when you’re not, there is a wide range of home security products available that are designed to protect your home while you’re away.
Products range from having a visible security alarm on the exterior of your property to deter burglars to smart plugs that allow you to remotely turn off and on devices such as TVs and a radio.