*This post is brought to you in collaboration with City Safes.
The summer season brings with it an extended period of well-earned rest and relaxation. For the majority of us, summer offers us a chance to enjoy time-out from our busy working lives. With the constant presence of our school-aged children, (love it or loathe it!), there are plenty of opportunities to catch up with friends and extended family, making summer the ideal time of year for weekends away and vacations of a longer duration.
Unfortunately, the less-than-sunny side of this season gives rise to a spike in criminal activity - particularly burglary and theft. It's no coincidence that the absence of many families from their homes during the long summer months results in an increase in these crimes. What's meant to be a joyous time of year can sadly become a nightmare for a few.
While homes do get burgled at this time of year, with a little forethought and planning prior to taking your next break, you can significantly increase your home's protection from these occurrences during your absence.
Here are some tips to ensure your home is less likely to be targeted by thieves while you are away enjoying your next holiday. Prevention is key!
Be insured! It's hard to comprehend, but that there exists a small percentage of home owners who do not have any, or adequate, home and contents insurance. Make sure you are not one of them.
Home and contents insurance is the best way to ensure you are totally covered in the event of any catastrophe, including burglary. Hunt down the best policy for your needs by researching various different companies and read and compare all the fine print within any policies.
Regularly review your contents cover too. Ask yourself - If the worst was to occur, would you be sufficiently covered for the replacement of all of your possessions? Insurance is the very best protection your money can buy and will give you the greatest peace of mind.
Install a safe. Having a concealed and burglar-proof area within your home to protect life's smaller valuables such as jewellery, documents and passports, is also a very wise move. Items such as these can be extremely difficult to replace, (sometimes impossible), so make sure these items are unable to be obtained in the first place, by protecting them from the wrong hands altogether. Installing a safe within your home is an excellent move.
City Safes is a company that provides new and reconditioned safes for both residential and commercial use. They also provide additional services such as delivery, installation and security equipment repairs. A safe will provide an additional level of high security should thieves break into your home at any stage.
Keep your absence low-key. Don't advertise any upcoming holiday plans by telling absolutely everybody. Only mention your plans to close friends and family and those you know well and trust. While you're at it, ask these same people if they can help to secure and watch your home in your absence. Perhaps someone amongst your pool of trusted contacts can collect your mail, walk your dog, water your garden and put your bins in and out. Most are only too willing to help in these instances.
Employ a house sitter. House sitting is hot business these days. There are even websites dedicated to sourcing a suitable tenant for the job. There are house sitters who will be more than happy to stay in your home and do many of the above daily tasks for you during your absence - all in exchange for the pleasure and convenience of free accommodation. It's a win, win for all.
Make an empty house look lived-in. Just like insurance cover, in the very least, make an effort to keep your house looking occupied. Even if you plan to be away for just a few nights, there are small but crucial indicators that can make your absence obvious. Simple actions like parking your car in your driveway (or inviting a neighbour to do this with their own car during your absence), can aid your home to look lived-in.
Purchase a few timers to use in key areas of your home, especially those rooms which may be visible from your street front. Have your kitchen light and lounge lights switch-on in the evenings, and even a radio or television. Timers can provide a very convincing effect and they are quite inexpensive to install and use.
Turn down the volume of your telephone so that any constant unanswered ring cannot be heard from the street. Also consider having your home calls redirected to your mobile phone while you are away. 'Wrong sorts' have been known to call-canvass a targeted home prior to breaking in. It's just one obvious way to gauge occupancy.
Redirect your mail for the duration of your absence or have a neighbour collect it each day for you, especially if you will be absent for a longer period. Make sure parcels are included in any plans too.
For extended vacations, keep regular appointments with your gardener in place, so that your home continues to look well cared for and lived-in.
Lock all gates and sheds so that access to your dwelling is limited or denied.
Never leave a spare key hidden within any area outside your home. For extra safety, don't leave a set inside either. Always check your home's windows and doors are locked before any planned outing no matter what the duration.
Finally, it's wise to teach your kids to be security conscious around their own home. As parents, it's very difficult to keep track of our kids' movements at all times. Explaining the importance of some of these pointers - such as always locking doors and windows, and never allowing anyone to access to your home without your approval first, will help to educate them with valuable life skills.
What would you add to secure your home?
Have you ever been burgled?