Leaving your home unoccupied when away on a long sabbatical doesn’t need to be a source of stress, though you do need to understand the importance of home security and how to keep your home safe when you’re away on holiday.
Assess Your Home’s Security
Assessing your home’s security can actually be a lot of fun because you need to think like a burglar and look for ways in which you can break into your home.
This entails identifying potentially unsecure areas of your home – for instance, ground floor windows lacking security screens, making a list of them and addressing them in a constructive manner.
Some people have security experts conduct security assessments of their homes, though this isn’t necessary unless you reside in an area with high crime rates or you’ve experienced a break-in in the past.
Secure Your Home
When you’ve identified potentially insecure areas of your home you need to take measures to secure them. Old locks can be repaired, but it’s generally a wise move to replace them with new locks. And if your ground floor doors don’t have deadbolts, purchase at least one for each door because they’re among the most essential items you can invest in to enhance your home’s security whilst you’re away on holiday.
Installing a security system is advisable; however, if you opt to have a security system installed when you’re off on a long sabbatical you need to have it monitored by a security company.
This is because if the alarm was triggered accidentally – for instance a bird flying into a glass door, which happens more often than you probably think – someone needs to come to your home to reset it so that your neighbours don’t have to put up with the racket it makes for days on end.
Make Your Home Appear as Though It’s Occupied
Homes that look unoccupied are exactly what burglars are looking for. So unless you have someone who can housesit for you, this is an excellent way to protect your home when you’re away. Though not all homeowners like the thought of someone else living in their home, take appropriate measures to make it appear as though you’re at home.
Consider buying a timer that will turn the lights and television on in the evenings to make it appear as though someone’s at home, plus you should also have someone mow the lawn and collect the mail and papers for you whilst you’re away.
Overgrown lawns and overflowing letterboxes are a sure sign that someone’s not home and these are exactly the kind of signs that burglars are looking for. So if you have a teenage neighbour, make them an offer. They’ll surely appreciate the opportunity to make a bit of money, keeping your yard neat and tidy whilst you’re away.
Don’t Advertise Your Holiday
Whilst you should definitely tell your immediate neighbours that you’re going away on holiday so they can keep an eye on your home – you can offer to do the same for them when they go away – the more people you tell about your holiday, the greater the risk of your home getting broken into.
It’s a sad fact of life, but many of our ‘friends’ on social media aren’t actually our friends at all. And as is often the case in recent years, people who’ve posted constant updates of their holidays on social media networks have been the target of thieves. Thus, think carefully about whom you discuss your holidays with.
The more secure your home is, the greater the peace of mind you’ll enjoy whilst away on holiday.
Alice Harrison is a freelance writer currently working for HG Security & Property Protection Ltd, who provides professional security services throughout the UK and specialising in the protection of vacant properties.