If you’re going on holiday or leaving your home a for a few days for some other reason, there are a few things you can do to make sure it’s as secure as possible:
- Don’t leave a spare key in a hiding place, like under a doormat or fake stone, or in a plant pot. Leave spare keys with a family member, friend or trusted neighbour instead. You could consider fitting a key safe. A key safe is a secure box fitted to an outside wall, containing a set of house keys and opened by a code. Only give the code to trusted people and fit it somewhere out of sight.
- If you’re going away for longer, don’t leave your home looking unoccupied. Many burglaries occur because the householder just didn’t lock the door correctly. Take your key outside with you, close the door and see if you can walk back in without unlocking it.
Cancel newspapers, milk and any other regular deliveries.
- Create the impression someone is home by using light and radio timers. Don’t use a timer switch on lights that can easily be seen through a window.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on things, close gates and make sure post doesn’t pile up. For a fee, you could use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service (03457 777 888,
royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/keepsafe). You’ll need to apply five days in advance and let them know when you’ll be back. They’ll hold back your mail until you get home.
- Put valuable items out of sight or in a safe. You could leave them with a friend or relative, but check whether your or their insurance would cover the items if they were stolen.
- Don’t close all your curtains and blinds – this is a giveaway to burglars that no one’s at home.
- Don’t tell anyone other than your family and close friends that you’re going away or for how long.
- Don’t post your holiday photos on Facebook, for example, until you get back – and be careful what you say on social media.
- Just before you leave, lock all doors and windows and set your burglar alarm, if you have one.
The charity, Independent Age, has a great advice leaflet on a range of home security options – download a copy on their website