Nothing is quite so unsettling and traumatic as coming home from a vacation or business trip, only to find an intruder has been in our home. Just to think of someone invading our privacy and possessions can make us feel helpless and victimized. This scenario is especially disturbing for the vulnerable such as those with young families and people living alone.
For those of us who travel for work, keeping our home secure while we are away for extended periods of time can be of paramount importance.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to keep your home looking lived in and make it an undesirable target for thieves.
Soft entry points – the hard facts
Doors and windows are the most common entry points for thieves, with almost a third of them literally just walking through the front door. This being the case, any discussion on securing your home needs to address these areas first.
Consider installing Crimsafe security doors and window grilles, which will immediately make your home impenetrable and also an unappealing option for thieves who are looking for a quick entry and getaway.
Gone are the days where security screens were intrusive and ugly.
The modern counterparts are streamlined and unobtrusive while giving you superior protection.
Keeping doors and windows locked seems like a no-brainer but leaving them unlocked or open is one of the most common methods criminals use to gain access to homes. Ensure windows on the second level of your house are also locked as these can be an access point.
Large pet doors are another method used for gaining entry either by allowing tools through to open door locks or simply by someone squeezing through them. Secure them well or remove them completely.
Whether you are leaving your home overnight or for extended periods of time, close your curtains. Also, put valuables or things which may present as a temptation such as car keys, handbags or jewelry out of any field of sight.
Don’t leave packaging from expensive purchases anywhere around the outside of your home or on the hard rubbish, as these are basically an advertisement to criminals of what possessions you own.
Another surefire way to make your home appeared lived in is through the use of lighting. Simple lamps operated by timers which turn on and off intermittently in alternating rooms will give the impression to the casual observer that your home is inhabited.
Sensor lights can also be installed in areas which are vulnerable to break-ins such as back doors, sheds, and garages.
Recruit a neighbor
A trustworthy, reliable neighbor is worth their weight in gold. If possible, have someone collect mail and take bins out and bring them back in.
Keep a car parked in your driveway.
Neighbors are often happy to do this, especially if they have no off-street parking of their own. A car in the driveway gives the impression that there is someone home, which acts as a strong deterrent to potential thieves.
When leaving for extended periods, arrange to keep your gardens maintained. Long grass is a sure sign that you are currently away from home.
Cancel newspaper subscriptions to stop them from gathering on your front lawn.
Make sure you don’t have any deliveries scheduled when you are away from home or have them delivered to a post office box or a friend’s address instead.
Reducing the risks
Consider a few interesting facts about how potential burglars operate:
- The majority of house breakers will operate within a two-mile radius of their own homes.
- They monitor things such as unmowed lawns, mail piling up and bins left out, to assess the best targets, especially so during typical vacation periods such as school holidays.
- Things such as large sized dog doors can be used as soft entry points.
- Social media sites such as Facebook are an easy method for criminals to identify when people are on vacation. Be very careful about what you post!
The idea when securing your home against break-ins is not to turn your home into a fortress, but simply to make it into an unappealing option. Thieves are looking for an easy target and will readily move on if your home presents as ‘too hard.’
Implementing a few simple precautions means that you can enjoy your vacation and come home confident that your precious possessions will be just as you left them.