Summer is fading fast as the leaves get brighter and nights get darker. With the autumnal chill settling in plenty of us can be tempted by last-minute deals offering weekends away in Rome or a sunny Alpine hike before the start of the ski season. But in the rush to take advantage of the drop in prices and store up some sun for the winter, it can be easy to lose sight of steps you should always take before heading on holiday to make sure your home looks the same on your return as it was when you left.
For true peace of mind, here are the six steps you should take before jetting off to keep the getaway cars for the Riviera.
- Install a timer for your lights
Empty homes are open targets. To dissuade a potential intruder from thinking your house is unoccupied, set up a timer that will turn on select lights in the evening, giving the impression to passersby that someone’s in. The Boundary alarm will be able to switch lights on and off at specified times to mimic an occupied home!
- Appoint a trusted neighbour as a ‘keyholder’
Entrusting a neighbour you know well to become an alarm keyholder means they can keep an eye on your property, giving them easy access should anything seem amiss. If your home is fitted with a Boundary smart alarm, you could also set security notifications to send directly to your neighbour whilst you’re away. This way, someone on the ground (and in the country) will be notified immediately if your home has been entered.
- Find unusual places to hide your valuables
Even in an empty home, a burglar doesn’t want to spend too long searching for valuable items. Every second they are in your property is a second they risk being caught. Consequently, there are specific places a seasoned intruder will immediately head to when they’re aiming for an efficient fait accompli. Typically, drawers will be opened and mattresses lifted. Safes that are not anchored down will be ferried away. To reduce the chances of a thief finding your most prized possessions, hide them in stranger spots, such as clothes pockets and board game boxes. Better yet, invest in a safe that’s secured in place to deposit your personal documents and treasured mementos. Most thieves don’t want to power up drills in the middle of a quiet night.
- Avoid holiday posts on social media
Resisting the temptation to share the view from the villa until after you’re back can be a challenge, but it can also be an essential safety net for keeping your home safe. With a survey conducted by Hillary’s showing that 1 in 12 British holidaymakers have reported a burglary after they’ve posted about their trip online, it’s clear that in the digital era social media can be an intruder’s closest accomplice. Many burglaries are carried out by someone the victim knows, so a potential thief could be a Facebook friend.
- Make sure to set your alarm
Even when a household has an alarm, people often forget to turn it on. For some homeowners, systems are deliberately left off because they fear setting off a false alarm. Although this is understandable, with high-quality modern systems, the likelihood of causing a false alarm is very low. Unfortunately, the chance of catching a thief when there’s no alarm ringing is similarly slim. With a smart system, you may be able to use the connected app to set the alarm even after you’ve left the house, so the panic of realising you’ve forgotten can be easily remedied.
- Fasten a deadlock to windows and doors
Prevention is better than cure. If your external doors and windows are not merely locked, but tightly guarded with deadlocks, a hopeful thief may calculate that the effort involved in gaining entry will not be worth the goods within. If breaking into your home will involve attracting attention due to excessive noise and commotion, a thief may just walk on.
A last-minute getaway can be the perfect antidote to any blues blown in by the change in the weather, but no bargain is worth a gutted home. Follow these steps and you can come back from that well-deserved break ready to turn a new leaf, not a broken lock.