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Protect Your Home When You’re Away

Protect Your Home When You’re Away

Now that the New Year has arrived, many of us will be tempted to use up any few remaining holiday days we have left and go away for a short break – after all, the Christmas period might well have been more stressful than it was worth, meaning that a little genuine rest and relaxation is in order. This is also a time of year where the ski season is well underway, meaning that weeklong, or even two-week breaks are not uncommon.

Clearly, if you’re absent from your residence, would-be thieves and other intruders will be better able to get inside and take all your valuables. In order to minimise the likelihood of this occurring, it’s vital that we take a few precautionary measures to ensure that we’re protected against wrongdoing during our absence. In this article, let’s examine a few of these measures.

Protect your home from burglars

Naturally, burglars will pose the greatest threat to your home, and anything that can be done to deter them is worthwhile. It’s worth therefore getting those household chores done before you leave, so that you house appears occupied while you’re away. This means mowing the lawn, and removing your clothes from the washing line – including the ones inside your home. You’ll also want to leave your curtains open on a few second-storey windows, so that your home will look as though someone’s in it without offering those outside an opportunity of looking in at your belongings.

You’ll also want to ensure that milk and newspapers aren’t piling up on your doorstep. Cancel any standing orders for both, along with any other regular deliveries. You’ll also have to contend with junk mail accumulating, so where possible get some trusted person (like a neighbour) to come around and bin them. Alternatively, you might consider signing up to the Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service, which keeps your mail at a secure location until the day you come back.

Indoor potted plants might also begin to wither during your absence. Address the situation by asking a neighbour to water them – that way your house will look occupied, and your plants will be healthy when you get back.

Of course, one of the best ways to suggest that someone’s home when they’re not is to turn a light on. There is, after all, nothing more inviting to a would-be intruder than a home that’s entirely dark. By investing in a timer circuit, or a set of photo-sensitive bulbs which activate in response to darkness, you’ll give the illusion of the natural rhythm of a daily routine.

One popular means of giving the appearance of a home being occupied is to leave the television or radio on full blast. This is one technique to which burglars have become wise – and if they’ve made the effort to get close enough to your house that they can hear what’s going on inside, they’re unlikely to be fooled by an edition of ‘The World at One’, however volubly it might be played.

Another factor we should consider is the visibility of valuable items. That’s why it’s crucial that such items are concealed – particularly if your house has windows which face out onto the street. Obviously, it’s a bad idea to leave large amounts of cash lying around on the kitchen table – but the same is true of other valuable, portable items like consumer electronics and power tools. If you’ve recently invested in a 4K OLED television, it’s a good idea to ensure it’s not visible from the outside of the house.

Remember that most burglaries aren’t planned – they’re crimes of opportunity, where a burglar will spot that you’re not in and take advantage. Prevent them from making this observation, and you’ll thereby safeguard your home against an attack.

Don’t advertise

If you’re going away, it’s essential that you don’t tell everyone in the world about it. This means keeping posts on social media sensible – if you announce to all of twitter that you’ll be away for two weeks, you can’t be sure that no-one undesirable will read it. Refrain from bragging about how you’re going to be living it up in Val Thorens for the next fortnight, and you’ll stand the best possible chance of returning from your excursion to find your belongings still inside your home.

What about technology?

We should also consider that a little investment might be enough to deter would-be attackers, and persuade them instead to target someone else’s property. These technologies would include motion-sensing burglar alarms and closed-circuit television cameras. The sight alone of one of these devices is likely to deter the majority of burglars – and those that aren’t deterred will stand a much-increased chance of being apprehended – and if you’ve recorded their image, successfully prosecuted.

While CCTV coverage still represents a considerable expense for many households, the benefits can outweigh the costs if you live in a high-crime area. Or, if you’d like to provide a deterrent without making quite such an outlay, you might consider a fake security camera or two – which will give the appearance that your home is protected, even if it isn’t, really.

Careful with luggage

Don’t put your home address on the outside of your luggage – as this will provide burglars and their networks with the opportunity to find your house just when it’s at its most vulnerable – instead place the address on the interior of the case, or record a work or other non-residential address instead.

Are you insured?

While there are many steps we might take to reduce the likelihood of an incident, it’s impossible to reduce this likelihood to zero. In the event of a break in, you’ll want to be covered against losses – and that means insuring your home. You’ll also want to invest in travel insurance that’ll cover you should your luggage become lost or damaged during your trip. Once you know you’re covered, you’ll be able to get on with the business of enjoying your trip – wherever in the world it might take you!

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Phoebe Skinner

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