With the rise in property crime, more and more homeowners are finding themselves arriving home from holidays or business trips to vandalism or theft. Whilst the police do everything they can, many of these crimes go unsolved. Criminals are even proactively seeking vacant properties, yet alarms and CCTV cameras are not always going to put them off! So how can you protect your home whilst you’re away?
Make your house look occupied
The first point we want to make may just be the simplest. The best way you can protect your home is to make sure it seems occupied. A vacant home will always be seen as an easier target, even when security systems are in place. Burglars generally avoid homes with cars parked out front, lights on within the house and clear signs of life such as having no mail or newspapers piling up. By making your house look occupied while you’re away, you will deter criminals from targeting your home in the first place.
Secure your doors and windows with high-quality locks
The phrase “locks keep honest people honest” applies here. Having high-quality locks on your doors and windows will help keep them safe, minimising risks by eradicating easy opportunities. The best locks are, of course, solid metal, but for the average homeowner, a quality lock is a euro-cylinder lock, which is commonly fitted to uPVC & composite doors — so it’s the main option for new builds. It’s also used with multi-point locking systems. The main advantage is that when it’s fitted to the correct lock standard, there’s less chance of burglars being able to carry out lock snapping, drilling, lock bumping or picking.
Secure your home with a sophisticated alarm system
Vacant homes are easy targets not only because of their lack of occupants but also because it’s easier to break into an empty house undetected. Therefore, if your home is set in a rural location without too many neighbours nearby, burglars may be more tempted. You can, however, combat this by installing an alarm system in your home while you’re away on vacation. Rather than having an alarm that purely makes a noise, some systems provide remote alerts via SMS or email when an alarm is triggered, whilst other systems notify an alarm receiving centre (ARC). Security personnel at the ARC then respond, requesting the police if needed, notifying the property owner and any nominated key holders.
Maintain your existing lock
It’s one thing having all of the latest technology and components to secure your home, but maintenance is also going to be important, especially for locks. If there’s no time to replace the locks on all of your exterior doors, you can decrease the likelihood of an intrusion by simply maintaining them. Secure any wobbly door hinges, fix broken window locks, and secure nearby ladders or spare house keys, so they aren’t left out in plain sight.
Ask your neighbours for help
If you’ve built a strong rapport with your neighbours and trust them, it could be wise to tell them you’re on vacation. For example, it often makes sense to ask a neighbour to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around your home. If you don’t know your neighbours well enough, then perhaps consider telling family or friends who would be willing to check up on your property daily, even if it’s a case of having them collect your mail. It can help reduce the risk of crimes taking place.
Alert the authorities
If you’ll be gone for several weeks, clear your home of valuables and contact local law enforcement to ask officers to keep an eye on your property. Giving police permission to enter your house if something seems amiss is another way of protecting yourself while you’re away. Of course, not many police forces nowadays have the time or resources to respond to such enquiries, and they’ll only act if a crime has taken place, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you live in a rural village with closer connections to local police officers.
Hire a home security company
When you need full-time protection for your home and belongings, you must consider calling on the help of a professional security company like Intraguard. We specialise in vacant property security, so we know the level of support you need and will ensure we do everything in our power to keep your home safe and secure whilst you enjoy your trip!
Have your home wired for protection
Many security companies today utilise the power of the internet to protect your home through CCTV and alarm systems. Wired security cameras provide unrivalled reliability. Due to the physical connection (between the camera, recorder, and router), the system is less susceptible to connectivity issues and interference from other devices.
Hire a professional house sitter
When you need someone who can water your plants, pick up your mail, and take out the trash while you’re away on vacation or a business trip, then a professional house sitter is just what you need. House sitters are available in many areas around the United States. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find qualified individuals for this position.
Count on your local community
If you live in a community with an organised neighbourhood watch program, join it! The more people who can keep their eyes open for possible dangers during those hours when everyone is at work, the better chance there is of identifying a potential threat before something happens to jeopardise your home. There are many neighbourhood groups on Facebook nowadays, and whilst we would not recommend telling everyone within your local group that you’re going away, it makes perfect sense to participate in this group and develop trusting relationships with neighbours who may one day be more than happy to keep an eye on your home.
We hope the tips above are helpful. If you need any further assistance in protecting your home or business whilst you’re away, we’re more than happy to provide unbiased, honest advice. Our experienced security team provide bespoke solutions for clients across the UK, and we have a growing number of residential clients.