With the promise of summer somewhere on the horizon, many Brits are planning their annual holiday. Whether you are going camping in Britain or going further afield it is important that you keep your home safe and secure while away, to give you complete peace of mind and leave you to enjoy your well-earned break. The first step to staying safe is to make sure that would-be thieves don’t know you are away.
Stay Secure Online
With virtually everyone on social media, it is all too tempting to show off about your travels. After all, what else is social media for, if not a little gloat? You may know all of your contacts on social media, but often younger people and teens don’t; what’s more, you don’t know the privacy settings of the people you are tagging in to the obligatory post of your al-fresco meal or beachside cocktail. Avoid prolific posts on social media but if you simply can’t resist, be safe! Have a good look through your contact lists and remove people you don’t know very well. Next, check your privacy settings; on Facebook, you have a number of options, including “only me”, “friends”, “friends of friends” and “public”. At the very least your privacy settings should be set to “friends” only, so you can control who sees your posts.
Make Your Home Look Inhabited
Of course, you don’t want to leave all your lights on for a week or two, but you don’t want to leave your house with lights off and the curtains drawn, either. Opt for half-opened curtains and consider investing in plug timers. Set them for your television and a table lamp to come on at set times in the evening, to make it look as though someone is home. Don’t leave bins or recycling out early, that is a sure-fire way to advertise the fact that you are away at least until the next pick-up.
Leave a Key With a Friend or Neighbour
It is always a good idea to leave a key with someone you trust. Ask them to check on your house occasionally, water plants (dead plants and hanging baskets at the front of the house are a give-away for your absence). Also ask them to clear leaflets and newspapers that may be left in the letterbox.
Ultimately, most burglars are opportunists. If your house looks empty and they can see something tempting inside, they are more likely to break in. It is, therefore, a good idea to make it as hard as possible for burglars to see into your home; net or voile curtains are ideal, as they limit visibility and, believe it or not, act as a powerful deterrent. Don’t leave valuables (laptops, cash, jewellery, tablets) in plain sight; tuck them away securely in a drawer or, if you have very valuable items, consider installing a safe.
For more information about keeping your home secure while you're away, take a look at Part Two: Installing Security Measures.