It’s National Home Security Month, so there’s no better time to brush up on the best way to keep your home safe. It may be that you’re jetting off for some winter sun, or perhaps just working hours that mean it’s dark when you leave and return home, but either way it’s important to take precautions to keep your mind at ease and to make sure your home is safe from any dangers or intruders whilst you’re not there.
According to Office for National Statistics, police-recorded crime has risen by 10 percent in the last year across England and Wales – the largest annual rise for a decade. So here’s a few important tips to keep you safe and give you peace of mind this National Home Security Month.
Don’t leave your house looking empty
There are obvious tell-tale signs that a house is unoccupied so make sure you don’t fall into the trap. There are simple measures you can put in place before you head off to fool potential burglars.
- Leave your blinds and curtains open – drawn curtains during the day is usually a giveaway sign of an empty house.
- If you’re heading off on holiday it might be a good idea to sign up to Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, which safely holds your post for anywhere between 14 to 66 days. That way you avoid post stacking up at the door, suggesting no one is there to get it.
- Automatic lighting can also be a good investment. Lights that work on a timer can ward off would-be intruders, however, don’t put them by the windows to give them a clearer view!
Don’t make a show of it
Having all the latest gadgets in view can attract people on the look-out – think smart about where you hide things. Spreading valuables throughout the house will also make them harder to find.
Make sure you have the relevant home insurance
Before you head off, make sure you have the home insurance cover you need and that it’s valid when you’re not there. Read through and learn of any exclusions in the policy too, you don’t want to be caught out by any surprises! It’s also useful to find out how long your house can be empty for and take note of important contact numbers in case you need to call them when you’re on holiday.
Don’t post on social media that you’re not there
We’re all guilty of it, that airport check-in on Facebook before you jet off or the exciting business trip, but be wary that this information is public and could be seen by an opportunist burglar. Only tell close family and friends that you are heading away and for how long.
The big switch
Ensure electrical appliances are switched off at the wall before you head out. Using standby or just turning them off at the appliance button will still use energy meaning you’re wasting money and creating a higher fire risk in your home.
Guttering is the unsung hero of the home. providing drainage to protect the windows, doors, siding and even foundations of your home from water damage. You should always keep an eye on your gutters, especially through Autumn and Winter as they fill will leaves – overloaded gutters can collapse and cause expensive damage to your home.
If your boiler packs in when you’re away it could mean you return to no hot water or heating – not the best situation during the winter months. Make sure you’ve had your annual boiler service to ensure your boiler is in good working order.
Everybody needs good neighbours
Make friends with your neighbours – looking out for each other is one of the best deterrents. If you’re struggling to touch base, read our top tips on keeping street safe and breaking the ice with your neighbourhood.