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Advice on Keeping your Home Secure

Everyone needs a holiday some time.  And however much you like your home, there's nothing like a change of surroundings.  But you want to come home and find everything as you left it.  Four out of five burglaries occur when a house or flat is empty, so don't advertise that you're away on holiday.

 

Plan Ahead

The following checklist will help you to keep your home secure.  Read it now so that you can plan ahead.  Then tick off the items just before you go.

 

Help From Your Neighbours

It's also a good idea to get help from your neighbours.  All you have to do is to write down some basic details, such as a mobile phone number and the date you are returning and your vehicle registration number and give them with a set of keys to a friend or neighbour.  Then ask them to keep an eye on your home while you're away. You could also ask them to collect post left in the letter-box, sweep up leaves, even mow the lawn and generally make the place look lived in.  You can repay the favour by doing the same for them.  Warn your key-holding neighbour not to put your surname, address or even your house number on your keys in case they fall into the wrong hands.

Is there a 'Neighbourhood Watch' scheme where your live? If so, let them know as well so they can help you keep your home secure while you're away.

 

Checklist

1.  Help reduce the risk of your home being broken into by taking some simple home security measures.  There is a free booklet called 'Your Practical Guide to Crime Prevention', which has over a hundred tips on preventing crime, available from your local police station or write to Home Office, PO Box 999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6FS.

 

2.  Leave small valuable items, like jewellery, on deposit at the bank, or consider installing a small floor safe.  Don't lock internal doors or desks - they may be forced if someone does break in.

 

3.  Mark any valuable items with your postcode followed by the house number or the first two letters of the house name.  Then if they are stolen and later found, the police can identify and return them to you.  Use the right security marker - DIY shops sell property-marking kits.  Ask your local Crime Prevention Officer for 'Post Coded Property' warning stickers to display in the front and back windows of your house.  Also take photos of any valuable items.  This is particularly important for those which may be unsuitable for marking.

 

4.  Arrange for pets to be properly looked after if you are not going to be taking them with you.

 

5. Cut the lawns before you go.

 

6.  Cancel deliveries of milk, newspapers, etc., discreetly - don't announce your departure to a shop full of people.  Only tell people who need to know you're going away.

 

7.  Try to make sure your house looks occupied.  Closed curtains in the daytime make it look as if no one is at home.  It is worthwhile to get automatic time-switches to switch lights and a radio on and off in downstairs rooms.

 

8.  Don't leave valuable items like TVs, videos or hi-fi visible through windows.

 

9.  Lock the garage and shed with proper security locks, after putting all your tools safely away so they cannot be used to  break into your house.   If you have to leave a ladder out, put it on its side and lock it to a secure fixture with a 'close-shackle' padlock and heavy -duty chain.

 

10. Don't have your home address showing on your luggage or in your motorhome whilst you are away.

 

11. Finally, lock all outside doors and windows.  If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set-and that you have told the police who the key-holder is.

 

And just before you actually set off, it's worth allowing a quiet couple of minutes on the doorstep  to check you've done all you had to do and taken everything you need with you.  Then have a great holiday, safe in the knowledge that you have done everything possible to ensure that you will come back to your house the way you left it.

 

 
 

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