Whether you’re leaving your home for a week or for a year, leaving your house on it’s own leaves it susceptible to being broken in to. This is obviously a highly unpleasant experience and can result in the theft of items and the damage of property. While you may have home insurance and contents insurance to cover these things, it’s still going to be a highly disturbing event that leaves you feeling unsafe in your own home and it will still be stressful to repair as well as increasing the rate on your home insurance. Furthermore, some things that get stolen are completely un-replaceable hard drives containing old photos or your life’s work, or sentimental jewellery etc. It’s important then if you’re going away to make sure that no one will be able to break into your house, and to leave deterrents that will hopefully mean they don’t try and move on to easier targets.
The first line of defence when leaving your house is to make sure that you don’t leave anything open or leave any keys in sight. Many people hide a set of keys under a doormat or plant pot that they use in case they manage to forget them or lock themselves out. While this might seem like a good idea for those reasons, it can also help a burglar to get in if they manage to find them, and it normally doesn’t take long to do a sweep of the perimeter. Similarly some people leave windows open to ‘air’ the house or again to help themselves get in should they leave keys. This again though makes it very easy for someone to climb in should they notice the window, or even to reach in in order to open a smaller window. Even if the ones you leave open are high up, bare in mind that it’s not unlikely for thieves to come prepared and bring a ladder.
There are also additions you can make to your house that will further help to deter criminals. If you have a long front drive for example, then a large pair of wrought iron gates, or large wooden ones, will help to convince them that there are easier targets. The idea here is not that they can’t break into the gates, but that they would much sooner try somewhere where there’s no such obstacle at all. Additionally, if you go for the wooden option, they won’t be able to get as good a view of the house and so won’t be tempted in the first place. While the gates themselves may be susceptible to damage, these will be covered by your home insurance. Inside the house an alarm can also make a great investment and can be enough to scare someone away who’s trying to break in or to alert the neighbours to a problem. Again, if they hear the alarm going off as you yourself come and go that too will dissuade them from trying your house to start with.
Another way to deter crime is to create the impression that someone’s home as an empty house is practically advertising itself to local criminals. If you’re only going out for a few hours and you can afford the electricity bill then you should always leave at least one light or the TV on. If you’re going for longer you can set your lights on auto-timer or ask a neighbour to come round and turn them on and off for you. A neighbour can also be useful for removing large piles of post that can built up by the door or postbox. With all these things in place no one will know the house is empty you can then go away confidently and enjoy your trip without worrying about your property.