We’ve drawn up security checklists for the summer to make sure you’re on top of your home security, all your alarms are working and your house is secure day-to-day, so we thought a checklist for before you go on holiday would also be a good idea.
• If you have milk or papers delivered suspend these services while you are away but do not leave notes in plain sight, as anyone can read these and find out when you are away.
• If you can find someone to house sit, that is ideal as they will be giving all the signs that the house is occupied. If not, the tips below will help make your home seem occupied even when it’s not.
• Ask a trusted neighbour to come round and open and close your curtains at the beginning and end of the day, and pick up your post and keep it out of sight. Curtains being left drawn for days on end and post piling up both indicate that no-one’s at home.
• If you have smart home appliances like lights, a radio or television use this to your advantage and turn lights on and off from your holiday destination. If not, use timers to make sure lights come on and off in a normal routine pattern, and do the same with a radio or television as the noise will make the house appear occupied.
• Leave a car on your driveway and get a lift or a taxi to the airport or train station. A car left on the driveway is a signal that someone’s at home.
• Make sure you haven’t left any washing on the line. Washing left out for days is a sign no-one is around. Similarly, washing up left in plain sight on the draining board provides a clue that no-one is around if it remains untouched for days at a time.
• Don’t tell people where you are going, when, or for how long. This is something that needs to be mentioned to the whole family well in advance. Overheard conversations in queues, pubs and cafes are like bait for burglars. They can build up quite a good picture of who is going away and for how long, then choose the best moment to burgle the house, safe in the knowledge that the occupants are sunning themselves on a beach somewhere, blissfully unaware they’re being relieved of their valuables.
• If you get a taxi or take public transport to the airport also avoid talking about your trip. The driver may well be an honest person, but people can often let things slip in conversation with others. If the taxi driver goes to the pub that night and tells his friends he’s jealous because the Smiths from Church Lane are in Antigua for three weeks anyone could overhear that, so be very careful about who you tell. In public anyone can overhear you, so avoid talking about any personal or holiday details.
• When you leave the house one person should stay behind to check all windows and doors are secured before setting the alarm and locking up. This method ensures that each point of entry is checked and secured without the possibility that another family member then opens or unlocks it.
Lastly, enjoy your summer holiday. If you take the right precautions it’s very likely you won’t be a target for burglars, but as this list shows, there are a lot of potential signs if you know what to look for.