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How to Secure Your Home While on Holiday


Returning home from a wonderful holiday to find your home has been burgled and possibly ransacked is an extremely upsetting experience. Inevitably, victims wonder if they could have avoided this trauma and expense by paying more attention to their home security before going away. In this post we look at what you can do to ensure your home remains safe and secure while you’re enjoying your vacation.

Empty Property Security

The number of burglaries in the UK dramatically increases during the summer months every year. Police forces warn that the main reason for this annual spike is many people are away from their homes, enjoying their annual holidays. And empty properties are an invitation for criminals on the lookout for easy targets.

Another reason for the increase in burglaries during the summer months is people leave their doors and windows open to ventilate and cool their homes. They spend more time outdoors, enjoying their gardens and holding barbecues, enabling criminals to easily enter their properties and make off with valuables while they`re distracted.

Many home security recommendations and best practices are common sense - but that doesn’t mean they aren’t easily overlooked, especially when rushing to meet holiday departure deadlines. So it`s always a good idea to think about your home security well in advance of your vacation and give yourself plenty of time to prepare, bolster security and implement the best possible protection.

How to Keep Your Home Secure While on Holiday

It`s worth being aware that crime statistic demonstrate that most burglaries occur as a result of poor home security. Properties which are well protected with rigorous attention to security are far less likely to be targeted by criminals.

Police forces and home insurers recommend attention is paid to the following to avoid being burgled.

Securely Lock all Windows, Doors and Entrances

Must burglars gain access to homes via the windows and doors. It`s therefore vitally important the make certain all doors and windows are in a good state of repair and fitted with high quality, kite marked British Standard locks and bolts. And its vitally important to make certain all locks are secured before going away as most insurance policies only provide cover for `forced entry` when properties are unoccupied.

All keys should be removed to a safe location or put in the care of a trusted neighbour while you`re away.

window security bars
Bolster Window Security with Window Bars


When assessing your property security, make sure all access points, such as gates, are secured and external security lighting is activated and operational. It`s also important not to overlook perimeter security around the property along with the locks and security used for outbuildings, garages and sheds.

shed door security bar
Shed Door Security Strengthened


Take Care Over Who You Tell

It`s worth remembering that criminals are on the lookout and listening for information telling them a property is going to be vacant for a period of time. Any property that’s left vacant while occupiers are away on holiday allows criminals to take their time in planning and expediting their assault so it`s vitally important to resist the temptation to share holiday plans via social media and only tell those who really need to know.

It`s also a good idea not to share images and reports of your holiday via social media until you get home. You can never be certain who will see your social media posts. Even if you`ve locked down your accounts to only share with family and friends you never know who may be looking over their shoulders.

Another important thing to consider is your family planner or calendar which many people use. If this can be seen from a window criminals can learn your entire timetable, including exactly when your property will be empty.

Telling a trusted neighbour can be a good idea. Ideally they should be happy to keep an eye on your property while you’re away and they might be persuaded to collect the mail and maybe open and close the curtains to create the impression there is someone at home.

If there is a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area it`s worthwhile letting them know that your property will be empty so they can keep an eye on it for you. And if there isn’t a scheme where you live why not consider starting one?

Make it Look Like Your Property is Occupied

As noted, a friendly neighbour might be persuaded to help give the impression the property is still occupied. As well as opening and closing the curtains and collecting the mail they might be happy to park a car in the drive.

Another effective technique is to put various devices, including lights, radios and TV sets, on timers to switch them on and off automatically while the home is empty. And motion triggered security lighting is another powerful deterrent. Burglars have stated they avoid properties if there are signs somebody might be inside.

If you have a lawn, cut the grass just before you depart for your vacation and make certain there are no hidden areas, created by shrubs and trees, that can be used by criminals to hide their break-in attempts. Burglars lookout for properties where the grass is growing and the garden looks unkempt as these signs suggest the property may be unoccupied.

Ensure All Valuables are Secure

It`s worth taking time to make certain all items of value are rigorously secured. Never leave any valuables such as laptops, jewellery or antiques, within view of windows. And be aware that many of today’s burglars are interested in a lot more than consumer electronics and jewellery. They are often keen to find personal information that can be used to steal identities and possibly vehicle documentation.

Valuable items should be securely stored in a robust, ground anchored safe, but it`s important to be aware that electronic safes can be vulnerable. A high quality safe with a mechanical locking system is likely to be the most secure option.

Another option to consider is putting all items of value, including important documentation, in the care of a trusted relative, friend or neighbour while you’re away.

Install and Enable Alarms

Homes without security systems are almost 300% more likely to be targeted by criminals. Installing an alarm system that’s guarded with a strong code will deter most would-be burglars. And it`s important to keep the alarm keypad clean from tell-tale finger prints and grease that can indicate which keys are regularly pressed.

It`s recommended that home security alarm systems should be routinely enabled, whenever the property is empty, even for just a short time while popping to the shops. A surprisingly high number of households have alarm systems which they never enable.

Don’t Leave Anything Outside

All gardening equipment, tools and ladders should be securely locked away. It`s worth being aware that most burglars don’t carry house-breaking equipment with them. They lookout for what they need in people’s gardens and sheds. Even wheelie bins have been used as platforms to gain access to upper storey windows.

As well as gardening equipment it`s also worth considering other outdoor items that may attract the attention of criminals. Garden ornaments, statues, outdoor furniture and even hanging baskets and shrubs have been targeted by thieves. Wherever possible, items should be removed to secure locations and hidden from being easily seen from public roads.

If you are concerned that your outbuildings don’t provide adequate protection, consider relocating valuable items, such as bicycles and valuable power tools, inside your home while you’re away on vacation.

Make Necessary Cancellations

Remember that burglars are on the lookout for common signs telling them there is no-one at home. Accumulating newspapers, milk and flyers are tell-tale signs that should be avoided. But, when arranging cancellations, take care not to announce your imminent holiday departure to a shop full of people and only tell those who can be trusted.

home security asset marking
Label All Assets with Security Marking


Security Mark Your Valuables

Valuables that are left at home such as jewellery, electronic devices, bicycles and even your garden tools and equipment, should all be visibly security labelled. Security marking acts as a powerful deterrent and it`s worthwhile putting visible stickers in windows telling would-be thieves that all items are security marked as this acts as a strong deterrent.

Make Certain You Have Appropriate Insurance

It`s important to make certain you have up-to-date contents and buildings insurance. And it`s worth remembering that most home insurance policies will only cover burglary claims on an unoccupied home if there are signs of forced entry. So it`s essential to make certain all doors, windows and entrances to the home and outbuildings are locked and secure.

Double Check Everything

Before departing on your holiday it`s worthwhile taking a few moments to double check all aspects of your home security. Sadly, many burglaries occur simply as a result of oversight, leaving a property vulnerable to attack.

Holiday Checklist for Home Security

Use our simple checklist below to ensure your home is robustly secured while you’re enjoying your vacation.

  • Are all doors and windows, including those in outbuildings, in a good state of repair?
  • Are all property doors, including those in outbuildings, robustly locked with all keys removed to a safe location?
  • Are all windows, including those in outbuildings, securely locked with keys removed to a safe location?
  • Are all gates and entrances secured?
  • Is perimeter security robust?
  • Have neighbours and / or neighbourhood watch been asked to watch the property?
  • Have deliveries (newspapers, milk, mail etc.) been cancelled or redirected?
  • Have precautions been established to make it look like the property is occupied?
  • Are alarm systems installed and enabled?
  • Is motion activated security lighting in place and verified as operational?
  • Have all external items been securely stored away?
  • Are all items of value identified, secured and security labelled?
  • Has all documentation with personal details been securely locked away?
  • Is contents and building insurance up to date and adequate?

We are confident that our home security recommendations will provide the peace of mind you need to relax and enjoy your holiday.

If you have any questions about what you can do to keep your home secure while on holiday or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 16th June 2022


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