Most advice on protecting your home focuses on autumn and winter, the darker months when the lack of lighting and open curtains makes it clear your home is presently vacant. Although burglary as a whole is much lower than it once was, it still happens. Burglars don’t hibernate for spring and you do need to keep your wits about you with some of the following essential security tips.
Mow the Lawn
It may seem an odd suggestion, but burglars are looking for signs of an unkempt home: a lawn in a poor state suggests somebody who is away or that the property is vacant (and may have things worth stealing). The psychology of a neatly mown lawn suggests somebody who is meticulous. If you pay attention to how your home looks, that will suggest to potential burglars you are meticulous about other aspects of the home such as security.
Don’t Leave Windows Open While Out
Nobody likes coming back to a stuffy and warm home after they’ve been out. You may want to keep your home aired, but you should only do so when you are at home. Burglars are opportunists; they will use any means necessary to access an open window and will even find a ladder to break into an open upstairs window. Close windows; if you have the new modern types that allow you to lock them open by 1cm/0.5”, then use this for ventilation.
Don’t Leave Doors Open While In
Not all burglars are looking to ransack your house. Most are opportunists and if they see a laptop in a window and an open door with no sign of people around, they’ll take the chance to run in and grab it. If you’re upstairs or in the garden, your prized item will be gone long before you notice. Keep valuables out of easy sight and make sure you close your front door if you’re going upstairs, even for a few minutes to go to the toilet, or into the garden.
Have a Neighbour, Family Member or Friend Handle Post
Uncollected post is the biggest indicator of a vacant home as far as potential burglars are concerned. The lighter evenings make accumulated post even more conspicuous. If you’re going away for a few days, ask a trusted family member, friend or neighbour to collect it and put it out of the way. Keep them aware of any due parcels (regular subscriptions or deliveries that weren’t quite able to deliver before you went).
Timed Security Lights
Spring and summer mean lighter evenings, but we do still need lighting. It may be a good idea to install a timer switch in your bedroom to come on at certain times, suggesting that people are in. Modern electronic devices have multiple programmes so you can vary the time they come on and even the days. If you set a number of sequences with no clear pattern, that will suggest activity in the home while you are away.
Smart Security Cameras
A recent technological development is the installation of so-called “smart cameras” as security devices. These will broadcast streaming video to any device to which it is presently connected. Even if you’re on the other side of the world, if you have a working Wi-Fi connection, you should be able to keep an eye on your home. CCTV is much cheaper than it used to be with high quality now available for the home.
Watch Your Social Media
Who are you telling when you go away? Just immediate family or the 400 people to whom you are connecting, including people you’ve either never met or haven’t seen in decades? Perhaps these people are valuable connections, but you can set individual security settings by limiting such sensitive posts to family and close friends only.