Lots of people go on holiday over Christmas, looking to get away from the craziness of the festive season and to at least try and get a glimpse of that little-seen fiery sky orb known as the sun. Unfortunately, a lot of criminal types are well aware of this and, as a result, the instances of reported burglaries tend to rise at this time of year. So here are five ways to keep your home safe whilst you’re off getting away from what we like to call ‘it all’.
1. Clearing the Kitchen
There isn’t a more tell-tale sign that you’re not at home than the accumulated smells that will emanate if you don’t properly dispose of food in your kitchen. The smell of rotting food is a big giveaway that you’ve not been at home for a while so it’s advisable to clear out cupboards and fridges, either freezing foodstuffs that you want to keep or binning the rest.
The same goes for any food throughout the house as well, including fruit bowls and any edible presents you might have stored. And don’t forget to clear out your inside bins as well. That sandwich you couldn’t finish should be removed from your house because it’s not going to get any more edible after two weeks away.
A good way of signalling you’re not at home is what is happening to the most visible signifier from the outside: lights. Even just leaving the lights on when you’re on holiday is not evidence that you’re in, as burglars would assume that this has been deliberate. It’s also bad for the environment – and for you’re electricity bill.
Technological advances mean there are many solutions available for this beyond the old rotary timer plug used to turn a lamp on and off at a certain time. Smart home technology now allows you to control many lamps from your phone or, if you really want to get away from it all, various timers can be programmed before you leave.
3. Exterior Maintenance
Few things are more obvious that you’re not at home than what lies outside your house. Untended lawns, plants not being watered and untended rubbish stamp a great big ‘we’re on holiday’ sign on your house. So, before you leave, mow the lawn, water the plants and make sure your rubbish is in the right place to be taken away.
On this last point, it might be worth asking neighbours for favours by ensuring your emptied rubbish bins are returned to their proper place. Neighbours can also be useful in feeding pets and watering indoor plants. Of course, you will have to return the favour when it’s their turn to go on holiday.
Also, just because you are going somewhere where the weather is nice doesn’t mean you can ignore the weather at home. So ensure there is nothing outside that could blow over in the event of high winds and protect pipes from freezing in cold weather by insulating them.
Depending on where you live and how visible your windows are from the street, drawn curtains or blinds during the day are an obvious way of signalling to anyone passing that you are on holiday. Of course, open curtains at night are another way of signalling this but of the two options it’s best to leave your curtains open as people could simply assume that you’re having a late-night or have got up early.
5. Cancel Deliveries
Nothing alerts potential burglars that you’re away than a build-up of post and deliveries on your doorstep. Cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers and don’t order anything that is due to be delivered when you’re away. If your front door or vestibule is in any way transparent – so that people can see a build-up of post – it might be an idea to put up a cardboard barrier so that they can no longer be seen or get a neighbour to make a collection of the mail to be placed somewhere it can’t be seen.