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Home Security – While away on holiday
At this time of the year, we tend to think about planning or have already arranged a holiday or short break for some well deserved rest and relaxation from life’s stresses and strains. In the days before going away we are usually preoccupied in planning the trip, deciding on what clothes to take and keeping an eye on the weather forecast. Another important aspect of planning a break is to consider taking a few extra precautions to help ensure our homes are safe and secure while away.

As an empty property is more at risk from burglary, it makes sense to try and give the impression that the property is occupied while away. There are a number of simple precautions to take, such as keeping the curtains open, as having them closed during the day will give the impression that the house is empty and setting timers to automatically turn on the lights and a radio in the evening. There are other products such as the TV Simulator burglar deterrent, which recreates the same sort of light produced by a real TV, giving the impression that someone is at home. There are also a wide range of wifi enabled smart home devices available which enable you to remotely turn on appliances and lights and camera’s and video door bells which will alert you of visitors or potential intruders.

Another sign that a property may look empty is where the  garden looks unattended with long grass, so if you are away for two or three weeks it may worth having a quick tidy up and cut the grass. Another obvious sign that a property may be empty is where post, leaflets or papers are left in the letterbox for days or a parcel has been left on the doorstep.

If you do get on with your neighbours, ask if they would keep an eye on your property, watch out for any suspicious visitors  and ensure the letterbox is kept free of any mail. If you are asked to look after a neighbours property while they are away, be aware that there have been reports of a new variation of seeing whether a property may be empty, where papers are placed under front doors and if they are still there after a couple of days, it would indicate the property is empty and a possibly target for burglars.

Another sign that the property is empty is when the wheelie bins have not been left out for collection, especially if away for two weeks or more, so again ask a neighbour, if they would put them out as usual for collection and replace them when emptied.

While away, you may want to share pictures of your holiday on social media, but do remember that you will be advertising the fact that you are away on holiday and that your property is empty. As a result it is possible that someone is able to identify you and knows where you live and that the property is empty, so as a precaution make sure your posts aren’t public and can only be seen by family and friends.

Before leaving home, run through a security check list such as doors and windows are closed and locked, the garage, shed, side gates are locked and any ladders are secured, as access to any tools could be used to break-in. Keep all valuable out of sight and away from windows, so as not to temp an opportunist burglar and remember to set any timers for switching on the lights and radio. If you do have a burglar alarm installed remember to arm it when leaving and tell a trusted neighbour the dates you are away and how you can be contacted should there be an emergency.