Terrific, you’re off on holiday. You have striven toward this well-deserved goal and earned your break. You will want to make certain you don’t join Britain’s 2.1 million annual house burglaries.
The dozen suggestions below will aid you and ensure that when you return from your trip, your home has not been stripped of all your belongings and your privacy invaded. Adhere to these pointers and enhance your holiday experience, knowing you’ve taken adequate preventative measures before your departure.
1. Nothing announces to the world no one’s home more than piles of mail on your front step or overflowing from your letterbox. Let Royal Mail know to redirect your mail before you go away. Of course, the ideal solution is to have a house sitter (or sitter couple) staying in your home. Often they are more “present” in your home than you yourself might be in your day-to-day life. There are hordes of house and pet sitters out there, either free (read “amateur”?) or professional, such as those provided by us at House and Home Sitters. As the old saying goes, “We get what we pay for”… Professional sitters also have the 24/7 backup of a head office and you don’t have to worry about your home insurance. Should you nevertheless opt to “take your chances”, then read on:
2. Place your newspaper deliveries on hold. A stack of unread papers is as clear as a neon sign stating, “Home Vacant,” to any prospective burglar;
3. Use a timer for your house lights. Reasonably priced, they offer the impression somebody’s home;
4. Music playing quite loudly or the TV being on – both preferably on a timer system – will do the same, for anyone casing your home;
5. Have a trustworthy person pop in and check your property on a regular basis to adjust curtains, water your plants and do any gardening necessary to maintain the impression you’re at home. Hopefully someone close enough that you don’t return to the aftermath of a home-wrecking celebration like we so often see in the movies;
6. Leave your curtains open or closed? There are mixed opinions. Leaving them open gives the impression someone’s home, but also allows for a would-be burglar to check the contents of rooms. Having them drawn, particularly when the weather’s warm, may indicate no one’s home, apart from providing cover to anyone inside who has illegally entered. Today’s smart home devices will operate the opening and drawing of curtains either remotely or on a timer. If you’re able to afford this option, then you should get this set up;
7. Leave your car in the driveway or in your garage? Some believe a car being visible will create the impression someone is home;
8. Self-evident, but check all windows and doors are properly closed/locked before you go;
9. Your answering machine or mobile voicemail should never say, “We’re away right now …”, as an organised burglar may phone to check if anyone’s home and establish there’s not. Preferably offer the number of a next-door neighbour or good friend for any emergencies;
10. Lock or padlock all entrances to your garden, especially at the rear, for deterrent purposes, to put off those petty thieves seeking to rip off your DVD collection or steal your TV and PC;
11. If you have an alarm system, call the security company to let them know you’ll be away, and check if they have patrols in your area. Let your local police station know of your intended absence too;
12. Install a floor safe for protection of your jewellery and valuables, and ensure this is well-concealed;
Again, take into consideration working with a house sitter. Having someone reliable and trustworthy living in your house might be your best bet, not only in terms of your insurance cover remaining in place during your absence, but also in preventing your joining the burglary statistics. In addition, someone staying in your home ensures timeous preventative action can be taken in the event of fire, flooding, or an electrical failure leading to frozen or refrigerated food spoiling and creating a serious cleaning challenge when you get back home. Contact Dave at House and Home Sitters and see for yourself how we provide a premium service at truly non-premium rates, most likely less than placing pets in a kennel or cattery.
All this might seem rather a mission, but keep in mind not stressing about the security of your home as it fades behind in your rearview mirror when your departure date finally arrives.