Don’t leave gadgets on display
1. At the very least put gadgets in drawers and cupboards and pull your blinds or curtains a little so passers-by can’t see clearly into your home.
2. If you’re hiding valuables, be creative. Burglars look for jewellery and laptops in the master bedroom, so they’re less likely to find them if they’re hidden among your children’s Lego, in the cereal cupboard or the loft. Safes can be a good way of securing your valuables against theft and also fire.
Make it less obvious you’re away
3. Ask a neighbour to collect your post off the mat and to pile it up out of sight of the front door area. If you don’t have anyone you trust with a key, then consider Royal Mail’s Keepsafe scheme where they will hold onto your letters and parcels for up to 66 days and deliver them once you’re home. It takes 5 days to set up and costs about £12 for 17 days.
4. Having the radio and lights come on while you’re away can make your home seem occupied. So use the timer on the radio and plug in timers for your freestanding lamps.
5. Turn your home phone ringtone down to minimum as leaving it unanswered a few times might alert burglars to your absence.
6. And of course, cancel the milk, the vegetable box and any other regular deliveries.
Protect your home
7. Get an outside light with a sensor and if you already have one check it’s working, as possible intruders will hate to be seen approaching the property.
8. Definitely don’t leave spare keys under the mat or a flowerpot – this is the first place thieves will look. And if you must leave them on the property, don’t leave them in sight of the letterbox – determined intruders will be able to reach them with a coat hanger.
9. Make sure your burglar alarm works and is activated if you have one. Your insurer might not pay up if it’s switched off or fails to sound.
10. As well as helping to make it look less obvious you’re away, neighbours can also keep an eye out for your property, look out for any suspicious behaviour and alert you to any problems. So while you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops, telling a trusted neighbour you’re about to go away is a very good idea.
For more information on running your home, as well as unbiased advice and services to help you buy, sell and improve it, visit www.hoa.org.uk
The HomeOwners Alliance: We’re on your side