No matter what style, age or size our properties are, there’s one thing we all have in common: they’re a target for thieves while we’re away.
Leaving our homes vacant while we’re on holiday is the perfect opportunity for criminals to break in, stealing our hard-earned belongings and invading our private space. But, are you even aware of the fact that you might be making your home a target for thieves...? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons criminals might choose your home to burgle, and the steps you can take to lessen the chance of theft occurring…
You’re not leaving cars on the drive
If you have a driveway on your property, a lack of vehicles on it screams, “We’re not home!" This is particularly problematic if you’re away for a week or more, as thieves will notice (after a few visits to your street) that cars have been absent for some time, and therefore you’re not likely to return in a hurry. So, why not invite the neighbours to use your drive while you’re away? Tell a trusted neighbour that you’re going on holiday and that you’d appreciate them or their guests using your drive from time to time so it looks like someone’s home: they’ll be happy for the parking space, and thieves aren’t likely to risk entering a property that looks occupied.
You’re leaving your home in the dark
Another reason your home could become a target for thieves while you’re away is that they’ve noticed the lights are never on. Of course it’s unusual for a house to be dark at a tea-time and into the evening, so your property is bound to draw attention to itself if it’s pitch black while the surrounding houses are warmly lit. To solve this problem, leave some electrical devices on timers when you go away. You can programme them to switch on and off at the times when you’d usually be using them, giving the impression that your house is inhabited and that thieves should keep away.
You’re not picking up your deliveries
You’ll also draw attention to your home if you’ve forgotten to cancel your deliveries. For example, a pile of newspapers or milk left on the doorstep to sour will signal that you’ve been away from the property for some time, enticing thieves to pry open a window or force a door. Either remember to postpone your deliveries while you’re away, or arrange for a kind neighbour to collect things for you. You could gift your newspapers and milk to your helpful neighbours as a way of saying ‘thank you’.
You’re leaving the door open
Ok, so perhaps you’re not literally leaving the front door wide open to thieves… But, if the entrances to your home aren’t very secure, you might as well be. Replace old, flimsy locks on exterior doors with newer, more secure ones. And, double up too – fitting your front door, side door and back door with a minimum of two locks on each will make it significantly harder for thieves to get inside. Similarly, ensure the locks on your windows are strong too, and don’t be tempted to leave the ground floor windows open even a crack… a small opening is enough to allow a criminal to gain access, and without the need to break a window, they’ll do it quietly without drawing attention to themselves.
Of course, you can take all the measures suggested above, but you won’t always be able to guarantee that thieves won’t target your home. Therefore, be on the safe side and insure your home against thieves. You can get good coverage online from somewhere like rac.co.uk if you don’t fancy waiting on the phone for a quote. Be sure to include both contents insurance and buildings insurance when you’re pricing up a policy.