Hoping for a carefree holiday? Here are our top tips to ensure your home is safe and secure wherever you are, leaving you to enjoy a restful holiday this summer.
We know what you’re doing this summer….or do we?
Thanks to the rise of social media, we most likely do, along with your hundreds of followers. Let’s just take a moment to reflect on the number of smiley airport selfies, a dreamy ‘flying through the clouds’ image, and not to mention, those envy-inducing ‘white sandy beach with perfect blue skies’ pictures that have been inundating your social media feed lately. We are sure there are many, and it isn’t surprising really, as it is holiday season after all. These fun snippets into everyone’s adventures are great, but all too often there are opportunists lurking behind those computer screens just waiting to know how long you will be away. As mediabistro.com recently reported, a staggering 78% of thieves use social media to find empty houses. It is unfortunate, but as technology has become savvy, so has the opportunistic burglar, utilising this additional tool of information to not only draw crucial information, such as how long your home is vacant for, but to also get an insight into your lives and assess whether it is actually worth striking. It may sound like an extreme, but the sophisticated burglar can easily use social media networks to investigate what is in your home, and the prime time to strike.
Scary as it may seem, there are ways around this, we just have to outsmart the savvy opportunist. Here are our top tips to tackle these unwanted guests and ensure your home is safe and secure while you are away.
Appoint a trusted house sitter
Be selective in who you tell that you are away, this means no selfies or posting on social media until you return. If you just can’t help it, you can change your settings to private to ensure only friends can see them. It could also be worthwhile appointing a nearby trusted friend to watch over your home, maybe even leaving them with a key so they maintain some regularity in activity such as switching on the lights and radio, to warn off opportunists by letting them know that someone is around. This is always a favour you can return and it will also leave you reassured the pets are being fed, the post is being put aside and generally speaking, all is well.
Maintain regular occurrences
While we all have a regular delivery of post, some of you may also have invested in additional weekly deliveries, such as a milk run, magazines and food deliveries. In the excitement of going away, it is easy to overlook the need for rearranging or even redirecting deliveries, but an over-bulging post box and mounting bottles on the doorstep are an indicator that someone is away. Simply taking a few moments to redirect deliveries or rearrange times, so your appointed house-keeper can pick up will be time well-invested.
Put expensive items out of sight
With the longer and occasionally sunnier days, it is easy to forget how expensive items and appliances, such as a TV or laptop are visible from the window, particularly when the street lights shine. There are two ways to tackle this, firstly, ensure you have good blinds or netting that can obscure an outsider’s vision. Secondly, rearrange items before you leave, ensuring expensive items are not easily visible and as far out of reach as possible. It may also be worth rearranging furnishings so the burglar has nothing to climb onto to get in, if there was to be a break in. You could also use the outdoors to assist, using free standing plant pots or let the hedging grow slightly taller in the few months before you leave so it is not easy for passers-by to peep in.
MOT your home
We all have locks on our windows and doors, but when did you last check their durability? It is easy to assume the locks of our windows and doors are durable based on its outer appearance. However, over time, they can rust and hinges weaken, making it even more important to run a quick MOT over the whole house before you leave, giving you time to replace them with new ones if need be. Check the shed lock, ensuring all garden tools which could be used to break in are locked away out of reach. And lastly, an obvious one, check your security alarm system. The more sophisticated systems can now be connected to your mobile or a device, so if you need an upgrade it may be worth investing here.
Secure storage solutions
For added reassurance why not store your more expensive items, or those of sentimental value, in a secure bank vault, out of reach from everyone other than yourself. This does mean you will have to fork out additional monies, but some items are irreplaceable and if you do not want to take the risk that you may never get these items back, it may be well worth the investment.
It is very tempting to draw the curtains or blind before you head off on your holiday, but this probably the last thing you should do as it just draws attention to your home, particularly during the summer. Why not use digital technology instead to possibly switch certain lights or the radio on during the day, which will make your home appear lived in while also sparing you vast bills. Technological progression is essentially about ease and convenience for the user, with many ‘timer’ based lights and heating systems now available. Solar lights will be an inexpensive solution for the outdoor areas also.
This may sound like the most obvious thing, but as our day to day lives take over it is easy to forget whether we have renewed our contents insurance. It may also be worth cross checking what your insurance covers and taking the time to add any expensive items or recently purchased items, including gifts you received over Christmas to ensure you are fully covered before you leave. Admittedly, we all resist having to make such phone calls, but it is all for our reassurance so will be well worth it. You could even use this as an opportunity to compare online to find a more cost effective cover.
Our final debrief…
Lastly, do not announce to the world that you are going away. For many, ourselves included, we would have spent months planning for this trip, so as you excitedly anticipate finally going away it is only natural to want to tell anyone who will listen, and share snaps of the wonderful places you are visiting. But unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall victim of those silent intruders scouring through many social media profiles to find their next prey. Use the opportunity to share those glorious envy-inducing snaps over a coffee or meal with friends, they will surely love to hear all about it!
We hope these tips guide you to plan a carefree holiday this summer.
From all of us at Mackenzie Smith, have fun and stay safe in whichever wonder of the world you may be exploring and be sure to share a snap with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram– when are back of course!