How to keep your home safe while you are away on holiday

As everyone starts to look forward to their summer holidays, unfortunately, some people are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all those homes that will soon be left empty for a few weeks at a time. You don’t want to have your summer holiday ruined by coming home to a disaster, so read these ten simple measures that you can take to ensure your home is safe, while you are away in the sun.

1. Cancel deliveries and the post
A pile of letters sticking out of the letter box, or a line of bottles of milk sitting on your doorstep is a dead giveaway that you are away on your holiday. Before you go away, remember to cancel any regular deliveries and get a neighbour to round and pick up the post for you. Alternatively, the Royal Mail does offer a service called ‘Keepsafe’ where, for a small fee, they will hold on to your post until you return.

2. Don’t leave any lights on
Leaving all the lights in your home blazing, all day and all night, won’t deter intruders; it will tell them that you are not in. The easiest way to make use of the lights is to buy some timers so that your lights go and off to make it look like someone is at home.

3. Don’t tell the whole world that you are going on holiday
However excited you are about your holiday, don’t broadcast the fact you will be away to the entire world. Remember that your Tweet announcing you forthcoming six month world cruise can be read by anyone, not just your friends. Also, voicemail messages on your landline shouldn’t be too specific either.

4. Lock away tools
Many burglars are opportunists, so don’t make easy for a potential thief by leaving ladders and tools on display in the back garden. Make sure that all tools are put away and the garden shed is locked securely.

5. Don’t close all the curtains
Do you close all the curtains, leave them all open, or do you half close them all? The curtain question is a tricky one, unless you have a neighbour who will come in and do it for you every morning and night. The main thing to remember is not to do something that you wouldn't usually do, so having all the curtains closed during the day would look a bit odd. The best option is to leave some closed and some open, then the potential thief wouldn't be able to tell if someone in the house was having a daytime snooze, or a room was simply unoccupied at night.

6. Hide all your spare keys
Don’t leave any keys in full view and, of course, don’t leave a spare key under the doormat! Remember too, not to leave the car keys lying around, or hung a hook somewhere, for a potential car thief looking through a window to see.

7. Switch off everything at the sockets
Switch all electrical appliances off at the sockets, except for the fridge and freezer, of course. This will reduce the risk of any fires being caused by an electrical surge and it will save you some money too. Also, don’t forget to turn off the heating and water heaters if you are going away in the summer, there’s no point in keeping things warm if there’s no one at home.

8. Lock up and switch on the alarm
And, finally, before you leave your home, do a final sweep of the property and check that every window is securely closed and all the external doors have been locked. If you have a burglar alarm, then switch it on and leave the access code with a trusted neighbour.

Thieves are normally looking for the softest and most obvious target, so don’t advertise the fact that you are away and don’t make it easy for them to break in. The more that you do, before you go away, the less of a target your home will be. 

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