With summer on its way, many of us turn our thoughts towards a well-earned vacation. While we may be looking forward to a couple of weeks relaxing on a beach, for burglars, holiday season marks the start of hunting season.
With more than 80% of break-ins occurring when the house is empty, June marks a peak month for burglaries as families jet off to sunnier climes, leaving their home to fend for itself. A similar spike in crime numbers occurs around the May bank holiday.
Knowing your property and possessions are safe and well protected while you’re away is vital for your peace of mind. So, here are Stronghold’s top tips for securing your home against intruders while you’re off soaking up the sun.
The best way to safeguard your home is to make it as unattractive a target as possible. No one wants to make a job more difficult for themselves than it needs to be, and burglars are no different. With the vast majority of burglaries being opportunistic crimes, if your home looks occupied or well protected, there’s a good chance you’ll be passed over for easier pickings.
- Fitting a strong, solid front door is the first step. As well as acting as a visual deterrent, it also gives you that most precious asset against any thief who might try and force entry–time. The longer it takes for a burglar to gain access to your home, the more chance he has of being spotted by neighbours or passers-by. Burglars know this and will target a house with weaker looking entry points.
- Make a small investment in automatic timer switches for the lights and TV in your house, set to come on at different times. Making sure your house looks lived-in is a good defence against opportunist intruders.
- Get friendly with your neighbours. Ask them to collect any mail that piles up, as well as the free newspapers that come through the door. If they have more than one car, ask if they’ll park one of them in your driveway. You can repay the favour when they’re away on holiday, and a thank you from duty-free is a small price to pay for their vigilance.
- Avoid social media. While it’s tempting to put all the details of your dream holiday out there for all to see, you can never know for sure who’s viewing your updates. ‘Checking in’ on Facebook gives your exact location and is very useful information for any potential thieves. It’s now become such a widespread problem that some insurance companies are refusing to pay out on policies where reasonable care hasn’t been taken to secure your home. And over sharing your travel plans online falls into the ‘reckless’ category.
- Make sure any tools that could be used for a break-in are securely locked away in a shed or garage. The same goes for any ladders you have. Fit a solid, reliable security lock on the doors.
- And lastly, we all know the worst part of a holiday is usually the early start, and we’ve all been guilty of packing the car up the night before for the 3am drive to the airport. But leaving a car full of luggage on show is a great advertisement of your upcoming absence, and one that any passing burglar is unlikely to miss.