It isn’t unheard of for criminals to set off an alarm several times while hiding out of sight. The idea is here is that the owner will believe that there is a fault with the alarm, encouraging them to turn it off before going back to bed. Once this has happened, the burglar is free to move around the house, taking as they please while avoiding detection.  So if your alarm sounds, be sure to stay vigilant.  What at first appears to be a false alarm may not be.

Protecting your house while on holiday

When you are away from your home for a significant amount of time maintaining security can be very difficult. There are several things you can do, however, to make sure your home is secure. Having a relative or friend visit your house every few days to make it appear lived in is a good idea. This is especially effective as we bear in mind that 80% of burglars are opportunists; they will be looking for empty houses which advertise themselves as easy targets.

Another very effective tactic you can employ to monitor the security of your home while you are away comes via CCTV. If you have CCTV cameras fitted at your home then it may be possible to extract a remote monitoring capability from your system. This allows you to view CCTV footage online from any location with internet access, and so allows you to keep a watchful eye over your premises while you are away for long periods.

Here we outline some of the basic steps which can prove exceptionally effective when it comes to securing your home while you are away for weeks or even months.

H3>Things to consider are:


Deliveries left on the doorstep for an extended period of time are a clear indication that a house is empty and has been for some time. This is exactly the sort of thing burglars will be looking for and, therefore, should be avoided.

One way you might address this problem is by ensuring that no deliveries are scheduled to arrive while you are away. If this is not possible then you should arrange for your goods to be delivered to a relative or trusted neighbour, or perhaps for one of the two to be at your home on the day of delivery to collect it and leave it out of sight inside your home.

Notes to tradesmen

Leaving notes on our door detailing the period of your absence is a very bad idea as it lets burglars know that the house will be unoccupied, and potentially vulnerable, between certain dates. At better option is to arrange for deliveries to be collected by others, negating the need for notes to be used.

In a similar fashion to deliveries, you do not want free newspapers and circulars lying on your doorstep, as it again suggests to potential burglars that your home is empty and vulnerable. It also suggests, as they have not been dealt with, that you may be disorganised. This is sure to prompt a burglar to investigate further, as a disorganised homeowner is more likely to have left a window unlocked or keys hidden under a doormat. You want to create the perception that your home is owned by someone who is thoroughly security conscious and, therefore, avoid giving potential burglars any unneeded encouragement to investigate the security of your home further.

Lights and timers

Setting lights in your home on timers so that they appear to follow a normal pattern of activity is another good way of disguising your absence from burglars. Homes left with curtains drawn and no visible activity for weeks are a big no go in terms of security. This sort of scenario signals to burglars that you are away. instead, you want your home to appear as though it is functioning as it would be if you were at home. Lights coming on in the evening and going off later at night are a good way of simulating this scenario, and as such putting lights in your home on timers can be an effective method of deterring opportunist burglars. Combining the use of of timed lighting with neighbour visits to draw and open curtains is a yet more effective tactic.  Also effective can be the use of a radio on a timer. This will give an aural indication to anyone approaching your house that it is occupied.

Garden and land

Nothing screams empty house like an unruly and overgrown garden with long grass and wilting hanging baskets. Unfortunately, your garden can begin to appear like this in a relatively short amount of time. Therefore, the maintenance of your garden is a very important security consideration.  Here is what you should ensure before you go on holiday:

  • Water hanging baskets before you go, if you are going to be away for a fairly substantial amount of time the organise for a relative or neighbour to water your baskets while you are away so they do not wilt and die.
  • Mow the lawn and trim hedges before you leave. In periods of long absence, get someone to do this for you while you are away.
  • Don’t leave valuable toys or gardening equipment in unlocked sheds or, indeed, in plain sight. This is likely to attract the attention of would be burglars.
  • Don’t leave your bin out in the street ready for emptying before you go away. It could remain there for the entirety of your holiday, signalling to burglars that your house is empty.  Instead, ask a relative or neighbour to take your bin for collection as usual.

Insurance check

A quick note on insurance…

If you are going to be absent from your home for a long period of time then make sure to check your insurance policy. In some cases policies do not cover a house if it is unoccupied for more than a certain number of weeks. If you are going away for a long period of time then make sure you are covered.

Dealing with bogus salesmen and tradesmen

A scenario where two supposed technicians turn up at your door asking to view your boiler when in reality their intention is to steal from you is, unfortunately, not an alien one.  This form of burglary, which is often referred to as “distraction burglary” is a phenomenon which homeowners need to be able to deal with.  Here we aim to make you aware of the threats so you can be vigilant against them.

Distraction burglars often work in pairs, with one member distracting the homeowner, perhaps asking them to show to them to the boiler, while the other grabs whatever they can of value.

As a starter, whenever anybody comes to your door claiming to be a technician or engineer and asking to look at your boiler or electrics you should always ask for identification.  Do not let them into your home until you have seen this identification.  If they provide a form of identification which you have reason to suspect is not genuine then do not let them in.  Instead, call the police and explain the situation.  When it comes to letting potentially dangerous strangers into your home you cannot be too careful.

If you believe they are genuine and subsequently decide to allow them into your home, do not leave them unattended.  Doing so gives an undercover burglar the opportunity they need to quickly take valuable items.  Another advisable step is to keep valuables out of sight so they cannot easily be picked up off tables or sideboards.  It’s a lot more difficult for a burglar to search through drawers looking for valuables than it is to swipe them off a table.

NEXT: Dealing with the aftermath of a crime