Recent statistics from the Home Office show that almost eight-in-ten burglaries occur when a home is empty.
That’s a sobering statistic for those who’ll soon be heading off on their annual summer holiday. Leaving a property unattended for a couple of weeks in July or August is clearly a somewhat risky business.
Fortunately, there are a number of relatively easy ways to go about reducing the risk:
1. Lock your doors and windows!
It seems incredible, but recent analysis from the insurer Churchill suggests that one-in-four burglaries occur via an open door!
Leaving for a long holiday can make you hurry, but always double or even triple check all doors and windows are locked when you leave.
2. Upgrade locks
Many burglars simply slide over the locking mechanism on old sash-style windows with a slim tool of some sort and climb in.
Any windows and doors with weak locking systems, such as just a night latch on a front door, need upgrading immediately.
3. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye out
One of the best things you can do is tell neighbours the dates you’re away. If you don’t, any unusual noises late at night, or the sight of ‘visitors’ at all hours, might be ignored.
4. Pack out of sight
If you have an early start the day you’re due to leave, it’s tempting to pack the car the day or night before. But if you park on the street, or have a garage that’s in clear view, it’s an obvious sign you’re going away.
5. Use timer switches
Placing lights, or even radios and music systems, on timer switches so they come on at random hours, especially at night, is a proven deterrent.
6. Post and deliveries
Make sure you cancel deliveries such as milk and newspapers, and ask a friend or neighbour to clear away post, especially if it can be viewed through a letterbox or glass panel. Get someone to keep the grass cut if possible.
Royal Mail has a ‘Keepsafe’ service which holds mail and parcels for you while away.
7. Put valuables out of sight
Whether it’s valuable sporting equipment, or jewellery and antiques, lock it away out of sight. Garden sheds make easy pickings for burglars if left open or are poorly secured, so make sure any valuable tools are safely locked away.
8. Don’t close all curtains
If you don’t ordinarily close all of your curtains at all times of day and night, leave one or two open, preferably with a light shining through on a timer from a room that can’t be seen from the front.
9. External motion sensor lights
If you don’t want to go to the hassle of fitting CCTV, lights which are triggered by movement are another very effective deterrent. They don’t cost much and can simply be screwed into walls or posts.
10. Credit card fraud
If someone gets hold of your mail while you’re away, they may be able to access sensitive material that could lead to bank and credit card fraud.
Telling your bank when you’re away won’t guarantee that any unusual activity will be picked up straight away, but it certainly might help.
11. Social media
For obvious reasons, don’t splash that you’re going away or are away all over social media!
If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published: 17 July 2018