How you can keep your home secure while on holiday
1. Don’t advertise that you’ll be away
Putting a note out for the milkman seems like a grand idea – you wouldn’t want anyone thinking you’re being held hostage in the house as the bottles line up on the doorstep. But leaving a note for the Milkman that tells him exactly how long you’ll be gone for allows anyone else hanging around to also know too. Not good.
Similarly, loud holiday conversations in the local shop or hairdresser – where it’s easy to follow you home from – are best avoided. It sounds horrible but this is the reality: you can be targeted and people are every day.
And if you put a label on your luggage, don’t include your home address. There’s no greater sign a home will be empty than three massive suitcases making their way to the airport.
2. Leave a light on
Rather than shutting the curtains, which doesn’t work for the daytime and practically SHOUTS your absence - leave a light on. A timer system is the best way to protect your home while you’re away, as you can set it for different rooms and different times.
Alternatively, leaving a low-watt energy bulb on won’t use that much electricity and won’t be too obvious in the day.
3. Ask the neighbours to keep an eye out
It's easy to be mean about nosy neighbours. But those folks are pretty useful if you’re going away. Let your closest neighbours know how long you’ll be gone for, but ask them to avoid telling anyone else. “Oh, are you looking for Mr Smith? He’s away at the moment, gone for a week, lucky beggar!”
If you’re on friendly terms with your neighbours, ask them to pop in every few days to pick up the post and generally just be around to check everything is ok.
4. Avoid obvious clues
It’s a bit of a human compulsion to leave the house spotless when we go away. Sadly, this does rather point to an empty home. Leaving a few dishes in the sink (clean, of course!) makes things look a bit more lived-in.
Your post is another consideration: a big pile tells everyone there’s no one around. You can pay for Royal Mail to hold your post for up to two months (it’s called Keepsafe), but you could also get a neighbour to pop in.
5. Move valuables out of sight
Anything that looks expensive – even if it isn’t – is a temptation, so get anything fancy put away. That said, don’t put the real valuables in the usual places (under the bed, in the bedside table etc.) or you’re guaranteed to lose them if your house is burgled.
Remember: someone breaking in is probably under pressure time-wise. So making it a little harder for them is a good thing. There are plenty of nifty ways to secure your most precious valuables – think cereal boxes and old catalogues – so have some fun playing hide and seek.