Going away for Christmas? Think like a burglar to protect your property

12 December 2013

If you’re planning on going away over the festive season, it’s a good time to review your home security by getting inside the mind of a burglar. Take a careful look at your home and spot the weak points.

Think like a thief!

The gate - a closed gate acts as a psychological barrier but if it’s broken or left wide open, it could suggest a casual approach to security that burglars love.

Don't give a burglar a leg up! Chain ladders and wheelie bins to stop burglars using them to climb over a fence or to a first floor window and if ladders are in a shed or garage, make sure that’s securely locked as well.

Doors and windows – don’t rely on just a cylinder lock for the front door – use a deadlock or similar and lock the windows too.

Lighting – movement sensors and external security lights are inexpensive deterrents.

Beware of the dog

‘Beware of the Dog’ signs often have the opposite effect as burglars might assume the dog’s an alternative to an alarm, which is fine if it’s fierce but not much good otherwise!

Pet owners  often have a habit of leaving back doors unlocked to let animals into the garden and if someone’s popping round to walk the dog or feed the cats while you’re away they could easily forget to lock the doors.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do let trusted neighbours or friends know you’re away and when you’re due back so they’re alert to anything suspicious.
  • Do leave a couple of lights on a timer to give the impression that someone’s home.
  • Do draw blinds or curtains, especially in rooms where valuables or a calendar can be easily seen – someone ‘casing the joint’ will know when you’re next out and which rooms to target.
  • Don’t put your home address on luggage labels that anyone can see and know you’re away  - use a business address or just a phone number.
  • Don’t leave notes for milkmen, window cleaners or the paper boy.
  • Don’t leave keys under mats, flower pots or anywhere obvious – ideally give a set to anyone who needs access.
  • Don’t leave the rubbish out for days – better to miss a collection until you’re back home.
  • Don’t tell the world you’re away by talking about your whereabouts on social media websites.

And now the weather...

Winter weather is predictably unpredictable; your return may be delayed by bad weather so be safe and resume newspaper or other deliveries when you’re actually back.

Heavy snow or gales can wreak havoc so make sure fences are secure, garden furniture, patio heaters and pots are a safe distance away from windows and cars.

And have a great time!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.