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Hooray! It’s that fabulous time of year again when most of us are thinking about our summer holidays and jet-setting off to sunnier climates – especially as the school holidays are fast approaching! However – and not that we want to dampen your holiday spirit – leaving your home whilst you leave the country for a week or two in the sun can mean leaving it in the hands of an opportunist burglar.
Most burglaries are just that too, opportunities carried out by casual thieves – that said there are over a million attempted burglaries each year! If a thief is stopped in his tracks by something that makes his job of getting his hands on your possessions difficult, they are likely to give up and flee the scene – hopefully empty handed. Ensuring all your windows and doors are locked, burglary alarms and automatic lights are just some of the most effective ways to deter such criminals.
So you can completely relax while you’re sipping cocktails by the pool this summer, here are Walkers Windows top tips on how to deter and prevent burglary whilst you’re away…
As I mentioned earlier, most burglaries are carried out by opportunists that will enter any property they’re able to – most will look for clues that you’re not around though as that makes them less likely to get caught. If you have a regular delivery of newspapers make sure you cancel this temporarily over the period you’re away (or ask someone you trust to move any new deliveries from the door way). Obviously, this isn’t to stop a thief stealing your newspaper – a pile of newspapers on your door mat or hanging out your letterbox is a sure clue you’ve not been around for a few days and will make a burglars day.
If you can, put a few lamps on timer to come on when it falls dark in an evening. This makes it look like someone is home and will deter burglars from trying to gain entry. If you don’t have a timer facility, you could always ask a neighbour or someone you trust to pop over and put some lamps on for you – it’s great if they can put blinds and curtains on too as this is a definite sign that someone is still visiting the property.
This may seem like a completely obvious tip but, you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually lock their windows are doors whilst they’re not in their home. If a burglar takes a chance on your property and finds the window or door is unlocked, what’s stopping them coming in, undetected?
It’s also important to consider all the entry points into your home. Is there a door directly in to your home through your garage? Do you have a conservatory on the back of your house that you’re prone to leaving unlocked? Any access point is a potential way of entry to a criminal so make sure you’ve checked, and double checked all the possible entries.
Don’t forget to make sure your garage and shed are fully secure before you head to the airport too. There might not be anything in them that you consider to be particularly valuable to you but sheds and garages tend to be storage places for tools and ladders which can be great help for a thief trying to enter your home!
It is also advisable to make sure you have up to date locking mechanisms on all your windows are doors. At Walkers we fit all our windows ands doors with the highest security locks with an 8 point locking system and all our glass is A-rated double glazing which makes it much hard to break.
If you’re unfortunate to have a burglar enter your home and take your possessions, the next step is to try and get it back – with the help of the police of course. Marking your belonging with a UV marker pen (invisible to the naked eye until held under UV light) is a great way of proving an item is yours if found and is concrete evidence should the criminal face prosecution.
You can of course mark your items in a normal permanent maker which, in theory, will have the same effect – but thieves are much more likely to attempt to get rid of this before selling on the stolen items whereas UV pen will be invisible to them.
A burglar alarm is one of the most effective ways to prevent thieves entering your home and automatic outdoor lights can put of anyone even getting as far as to set an alarm off. If an alarm is set off, they are loud enough to alert the whole street and will deter most burglars for going any further. Some alarm systems can also be set to alert the police to your property so, even if you are away on your jollies, you can rest knowing your home is being looked after.
If you get along with and trust your neighbours, it is also a good idea to have them keep an eye on your house and let them have any emergency contact numbers such as your close family who can attend your property should they need to while you’re away.
It is important not to leave any keys on show whilst you’re away – this means moving any window keys you keep on your window cills out of site, especially any on the ground floor! Car keys should also be kept out of site and away from any doors and windows. If a thief doesn’t want to take their chances on actually entering your home, some will use fishing rods, hooks or magnets to pick up car keys through your letterbox! The safest option is to hide any keys away in drawers or cupboards out of sight.
You should also never tag your keys with your full name and address as if lost and found by the wrong person, you’re making your home an easy target. If you insist in labelling your keys, a surname and a work address is the best way to enable anyone who finds your keys to return them safety to you without risking putting your home in danger.
Make sure that if you’re leaving any keys to your home with neighbours or relatives whilst you’re away that you completely trust them.
Phew! Now that all your security is taken care of, you can look forward to your summer holiday with one less thing to think about (sorry I don’t have any tips on packing or entertaining kids on an 8 hour flight).
For more information on Walkers Windows high security windows and doors and energy efficient A-rated double glazing or if you’d like a free, no obligation quote – visit walkerswindows.com or contact us on 0800 849 222 9.