If you’re going away, then you will be focusing on the excitement of your holiday. However, there are a few practical things that need to be done before you leave your home for the holidays. You’ve got plans to make, passports to find, bags to pack that are all probably taking priority over home security. With that in mind, we’ve put together some simple and fast tips to make sure that you have peace of mind while you’re away.
Local Police Resources
If you have time check out your local police forces website. They often have handy hints and tips about how to keep your home safe from burglars. In some cases, there might be expertise you can tap into for free. For example Essex Police may be able to arrange a home visit from one of their crime prevention officers.
Don’t Let the World Know You’re Not Home
When your home is empty, the best thing you can do is make sure that no one knows. Don’t advertise the fact that you’re going away. Tempting as it is to make sure that everyone on Facebook knows that you’re going to a fancy resort in Morocco, it will tell thieves that your home is vacant. Make your home look like you’re still there. Light and TV timers will make it look and sound like there’s someone home, even if there isn’t. Similarly, a trusted friend or family member house sitting for you to pick up post and water the plants will keep the place looking occupied. At the very least, ask a neighbour to make sure the doorstep does not have any letters or flyers left for days as that will clearly advertise the fact your home is empty. You could consider using Royal Mails Keepsafe service which will keep your mail from being delivered until you are back home.
Burglars will assess your house before they try and gain entry. As we mentioned above, one of the factors they consider is whether anyone is home, but others are things like whether they can see valuables through the windows and whether they’d be seen breaking in from the street. Net or voile panels at your windows will make it more difficult to see into your home, discouraging burglars from breaking in. A security light will help to make sure that your neighbours are notified of any activity around your property; a simple way to make it obvious that someone unwelcome is there when you’re not home.
How to install a security light
1. Decide where the light should go for best coverage.
2. Make sure the house and gardens main power is turned off, and that everyone in the house knows that you’re working with the electricity.
3. Drill a hole where the light will go, so it runs slightly downhill towards the outside. Line the hole with plastic conduit and feed the cable through.
4. Connect the cable to the light accordingly, and then wrap connectors in PVC electrical tape to keep out moisture.
5. Fix the light to the wall.
6. Inside the house, cut the cable into the main lighting circuit using a four-terminal junction box.
7. Run two core-and earth cable from the junction box to your newly installed switch.
8. Isolate the circuit, check the power is off with a voltage tester. Cut the main circuit cable and make the connection in the junction box.
9. Turn the power back on and test the light.
To make sure burglars can’t see your valuables, hide them from plain sight. The best way to do this is by using a properly installed safe. This way, not only are your valuables hidden, but if thieves were to gain entry, then they wouldn’t necessarily be able to get at your precious belongings.
How to install a safe to your floor
A safe should be bolted to a solid surface, such as concrete or brick. Wooden floors aren’t suitable.
1. Decide where you want your safe to go. If there’s carpet or skirting board, then you’ll need to remove them. This means that your safe will be as close to the floor and the wall as possible, which means that removing the safe is even harder.
2. Place the safe in the spot, and mark out where the pre-drilled holes are, so you know where to drill.
3. Drill the holes. Start with a small masonry bit and then continue with a large bit to reach the length that you need for the anchor bolt.
4. Put your safe back into position and screw your anchor bolts in, making sure that they are as secure as possible.
External CCTV will go a long way to discourage burglars, but internal CCTV is useful for alerting you to an intrusion while you’re away, and potentially even catching the thieves on film to use as evidence later. Motion sensor cameras can notify you when movement is detected and you can view the images real-time on your smartphone. This means that you can take action, perhaps even phoning the police in time to catch them in the act.
How to install CCTV
1. Decide where your camera should go for the best coverage of vulnerable areas – usually your front door. The corners of your house are usually the best places to put cameras.
2. If you are using a hard-wired camera, then you’ll need to run a wire into your home by drilling a hole through the wall. Your loft is usually the easiest place to do this.
a. Then, decide where your monitor and DVR will be placed, then run the wires to them.
3. Many CCTV cameras are wireless, so you need to make sure that you know the range area, because once you reach the edge of this, the feed may not be of great quality.
4. Place camera against the wall and mark the holes. Drill the holes and fix the camera to the wall.
5. Set up the camera according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
By adhering to these simple snippets of advice, you have a much better chance of coming back from your holiday to a home exactly the way you left it.