Arriving home to find that your house has been broken into is a truly distressing experience for anyone to have to experience, no matter what’s been taken. Unfortunately no-one is immune to these appalling crimes, with everyone from the vulnerable to the privileged targeted, but there are several simple things you can do to help preserve the security of your property when you’re not there to look after it.
1. Don’t advertise your belongings
As the Christmas season creeps closer, it’s even more important than ever to make sure that you’re not leaving empty boxes outside your bins. There’s no excuse for burglary, but it’s also inevitable that criminals will target homes that appear to have possessions worth stealing, so try not to advertise the new TV you have just bought or the children’s latest games console by leaving packaging outside your house. Fit it into the recycling bin, or drop it off at the local tip.
2. Move your spare key
However hidden you might think that in-case-of-emergencies key is, many burglars are practised thieves who know exactly where to look. If you struggle to find somewhere suitably ingenious, ask a neighbour to hold one for safekeeping instead.
3. Pretend to be home
Whether you’re leaving for a weekend, a holiday or even an entire season, homes are much more vulnerable without inhabitants. To avoid passers-by spotting that your property is currently empty, you can invest in high-tech security systems that open your curtains each morning, switch on your lights and even turn on the television on an automatic basis to create the illusion of an occupied home.
4. Check the entry points
Doors and windows are the most vulnerable parts of your home, so take the time to protect them. Historic houses tend to have somewhat old-fashioned locks, so it’s well worth checking whether or not your front door is due an update. Check how solid your door is and install a good quality deadbolt – then remember to use it whenever you leave! You can also limit how far your windows open, to prevent anyone climbing through.
5. Maintain your garden
An overgrown garden not only suggests that the owner may be away, it also provides plenty of places to hide when approaching a property. Keep all hedges trimmed back and tidy, and cut away tree branches that could aid access to upstairs windows.
6. Use technology wisely
If you’ve installed a high-tech alarm system or motion sensors, make sure you let people know about it with signs around the property. However, be wary with social media – don’t alert your entire network to the fact that your home will be left empty with tweets and status updates about holidays, as this news may alert distinctly unfriendly outsiders to an opportunity.
7. Know your area
Before you consider moving house or buying property, familiarise yourself with the area and its general sense of security. You can research online or ask your estate agent for more details about any neighbourhoods you’re unacquainted with – this is particularly important when buying abroad. Engel & Völkers have a wealth of local knowledge about each area we operate in, so you’ll always know that you’ve been directed to the best locations with our expert help. For more information, just visit our official E&V website.