Top Tips For Preventing Holiday Break-Ins

Monday, 01 July 2013

With summer fast approaching, many of us will be looking forward to jetting off abroad - but there's more to preparing for a holiday than simply stocking up on sunscreen. Our homes can become particularly vulnerable to opportunistic thieves when left unoccupied, but there are a few simple measures you can take to minimise the risk. Here are our top tips:

• Try trimming your hedges down to 3ft or lower. Hedges may protect your home from the prying eyes of burglars, but they also protect burglars from the watchful eyes of your neighbours.

• The Metropolitan Police recommend planting "abrasive foliage" in your garden beneath windows as an effective burglar deterrent. Spiky plants that you might want to consider include gooseberry and giant rhubarb.

• If you own a ladder, keep it securely locked away and double check that all of the windows and doors are locked before you leave - even on upper storeys.

• If you get your newspapers or milk delivered, it's best to cancel the service until you’re home. Nothing says “vacant” like milk bottles piling up on the porch.

• Avoid leaving spare keys in the garden: burglars tend to know the most common hiding places.

• Not many people are aware that their home insurance may become invalid if their house is left vacant for more than 30 days. So, if you're planning a long break, it's important that you inform your insurer. For extra peace of mind, you may also want to consider a professional house-sitting service - a house-sitter can water your plants, keep your garden maintained and potentially deter thieves by keeping the home occupied while you're away.

• If you have a burglar alarm installed, check to make sure that it’s in full working order before setting off.

• Whilst it may seem counterintuitive, it's best to leave curtains open. Closed curtains on a glorious sunny day are a dead giveaway that you’re not home. To further boost the impression of your house being occupied, you can also purchase light switch timers that can be programmed to activate at certain times of day.

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