– Make sure your home looks like someone is living in it. Don’t close your curtains – in daytime, this shows the house is empty. Think about getting automatic time switches to turn your lights on in the evening.
– Fit mortise locks or bolts to all outside doors, and locks to all downstairs or easily accessible windows.
– Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries.
– Cut the lawn before you go and trim back any plants that burglars could hide behind.
– Get a friend or neighbor to look after your home. They can collect your mail; mow your lawn and so on. This gives the impression that someone is living in your home. If you leave keys with a neighbor, don’t label them with your address.
– Don’t leave valuables, like your TV, hi-fi or video equipment, where people can see them through windows.
– Mark any valuable items with your postcode and house number using an ‘invisible’ pen that you can get from most hardware stores. If your property is stolen, this will help the police to provide them with better evidence to convict the people responsible.
– Make sure that you have up-to-date contents insurance.
– Do not put your home address on your luggage when you are traveling to your holiday destination.
– Lock the garage and shed with proper security locks, after putting all of 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 or heavy-duty chain.
– 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 has the key.
– And just before you set off, it’s worth spending a couple of minutes checking that you’ve done all you had to do and taken everything that you need with you.
Help from your neighbors
– It’s also a good idea to get help from your neighbors. Ask them to keep an eye on your home while you’re away.
– You could also ask them to collect mail left in the mailbox, sweep up leaves, and even mow the lawn and generally make the place look lived in.
– You can repay the favor by doing the same for them. Warn the neighbor who has your key 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 Neighborhood Watch program where you live? Your local police will tell you if there is a program in your area or help you set up one of your own. It could help you keep your home secure while you’re away, and has many other crime prevention and community benefits.