Whether you’re holidaying on the other side of the world or simply at the beach down the road, if you’re leaving your home for the annual summer break, it can mean there is an increased risk your home will become a target for thieves.
The good news is, there are a few tips and tricks you can use which can make a huge difference in protecting your most valuable asset and safeguarding your home against thieves this summer holiday season:
Double check the locks
Check your home's existing locks and if necessary refit new ones, such as deadlocks and bolts, on doors and windows. Many homes have locks on windows that generally share the one key, so it’s a good idea to keep this key in a safe location (or even with you) whilst you’re on holiday.
Make a list of valuables
Keep an up-to-date list of any valuables such as jewellery, antiques, electronics and artwork. Take a photo of each item to keep on file and ensure your insurance company also has a copy. This will make the claim process much easier if something were to happen.
Keep keys in a safe place
Don’t leave house keys hidden outside, as experienced thieves will know where to look. Instead, leave a set of keys with trusted neighbours or friends or take them with you.
Survey outdoor objects
Lock away garden tools and ladders as they could potentially help a would-be thief to gain access to your home.
Let in the light
Use automatic timer switches for lamps, TVs or stereos to come on then turn off each night. This will give the illusion that someone is occupying your home and will deter potential thieves. Outdoor sensor lights are also a good idea not only to deter intruders but to help alert neighbours to someone’s presence around your home.
Clear the letterbox
Arrange to have you letterbox emptied daily. Nothing is a bigger signal to thieves than an overflowing letterbox, or newspapers piling up on the lawn. It may be a good idea to have your newspaper subscription paused or diverted to another address for the duration of your holiday.
For longer holiday breaks, arrange to have the lawn mowed and the house aired with windows opened occasionally (whilst someone is at the house), so it’s apparent someone is either living in or visiting the home regularly.
Be social media savvy
Don’t leave a message on your phone indicating that you are away and be careful not to mention the duration of your trip on social media. Recent research has shown that thieves canvas social media to try and identify people who may be away and to locate their address. Alternatively, ensure you have strict privacy settings on your social media profiles.
Have someone stay
If possible, ask a trusted friend or family member to be your house sitter.