It’s holiday time for many - but not for the nation’s burglars! They’ll be working overtime to steal as much as they can from homes left empty. A combination of unoccupied properties and daylight until late is honey for housebreakers.
Most burglars are opportunists – a window or door left venerable is their golden invitation. Taking simple precautions can dramatically cut the chances that an unwelcome visitor will target your valuables. The first line of defence is to lock all doors and windows. Never leave keys for windows in sight. If you have recent moved, change all the locks – you don’t know where keys from previous residents have ended up. And if you have lived in your home a long time, consider upgrading your defences. Take advice from a Locksmith!!
Never advertise you are away. Curtains or shutters that stay closed give away signals. Timers are an inexpensive way of ensuring lights go on and off for a few hours each evening. Cancel deliveries such as milk, newspapers or vegetable boxes. Don’t leave gardens untended. Mowing the lawn before you go out not only keeps your outdoor space tidy – it makes it look as though someone is at home. And resist the temptation to tell the world you are off for six weeks around South America or even just a week in Spain. You never know who might be listening, or reading your social media pages. Burglars can access Twitter, Facebook and other sites just as easily as your friends. Never leave valuables or keys where they can be seen through a letterbox. Thieves are skilled at hooking car keys and stealing vehicles – some motor insurance’s might not pay out if you have failed to take precautions.
Burglars want small, expensive items such as jewellery or cash. They often head straight to bedrooms hoping for an easy to remove safe – ensure a locksmith bolts it onto an exterior wall with security fittings. Housebreakers know hiding places! Putting jewellery in a fake tin in the fridge rarely fools them.
Burglary rates have fallen for the past 20 years, according to the Office of National Statistics. In part, it’s thanks to better locks and less carelessness. But it’s also because the old classic theft (televisions, DVD players and hi-fi) is no longer worth it. Most electronic gear fetches little or nothing – who wants a nicked DVD player when new ones cost so little?
- Royal Mail’s Keepsake service will hold letters and parcels for up to 66 days when you are away.
- Get a trusted neighbour to remove fliers, free newspapers and other items from your front door.
- Burglars want a quick in and out. Spreading items of value around your home slows them down.
- Some household insurance’s say you can only leave your property unattended for a limited period. Check!
- Washing left on driers or outdoor lines for a few days’ signals you’re away.
- Avoid phone messages of the “we’re away for the next fortnight” type.
- An insurance payment is no substitute for items of sentimental value.
- Many polices forces will advise on how to keep your home safe.