Langstane Housing Aberdeen

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Home Security While On Holiday 09/08/19

Going on holiday – before you go take a look at some advice and tips from Moray Community Safety Partnership to help keep your home safe 

Everyone needs a holiday from time to time and when we return home we expect to find everything as we left it.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case, with almost half of all housebreakings occurring when a flat or house is left unoccupied.

By planning ahead and following the tips below, you can help to make your home more secure while you are away.

  • What you may have to cancel – newspapers, grocery deliveries & milk (be careful who hears you in the shop)
  • Make sure your home looks occupied. Ideally, ask a trusted neighbour or a friend to look after it (collecting mail, watering plants, feeding your pets, opening & closing curtains etc). Let them have the spare keys but don’t put your name or address on the keys.
  • Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else an intruder may easily find them.
  • Don’t leave your curtains closed in the daytime as this shows the house is empty.
  • Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights on when it gets dark (and not just in the hallway).
  • Avoid discussing holiday plans where strangers may hear details of your absence from home.
  • Be wary of what you post on social media sites – do not advertise the fact that you are away from home.
  • Cut the lawn before you go and trim back any plants that offenders could hide behind.
  • Uncollected mail is a sign that you are away.  The Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service will keep your mail for up to two months, for a small payment, while you are away.
  • Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members. Or lock them in a safe.
  • Remove all items of value from view in your car.
  • Do not put your home address on your luggage when you are travelling to your holiday destination.
  • If you normally leave valuable pedal cycles or similar items in your shed, consider putting them in the house.
  • Garden and DIY tools that could be used to break into your home should be secured out of sight.
  • Unplug all electrical devices that don't need to be on.
  • Turn off the gas and water supply (if you are away for a long while).

Finally, don’t forget to lock all external doors and windows. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set.

And just before you set off, it’s worth spending a couple of minutes checking that you’ve done all you had to do and taken everything you need with you.

 
 General tips on home security.

  • Fit 5 lever mortice dead locks or sash locks (Kitemarked BS 3621) to all external doors, and window locks to all downstairs or easily accessible windows.  Preferably, there should be three points of locking to rear, side and internal garage doors.
  • Have an approved alarm system installed – look for installers in your area who are members of a recognised inspecting body.  We would ask that you consider a monitored system, installed by either an NSI or SSIAD registered company.   
  • Don’t leave valuables, like your TV, laptop or DVD player, where people can see them through windows.
  • Ideally keep photographic records of all your valuable items and keep it in a safe place.
  • Consider fitting a letterbox cage or outer restrictor, which prevents thieves from putting their hands through and trying the latches from the inside.
  • Most criminals get in through a back door or window. Make it difficult for them by locking all side or back gates and adding trellis to the top of walls and fences.
  • Fit lights that come on at night to cover the sides and back of your house.
  • Put all your tools away so they cannot be used to break into your house and lock your garage and shed with proper security locks.
  • If you have to leave a ladder out, put it on its side and lock it to a secure fixture with a ‘close shackle’ padlock or heavy-duty chain.
  • Make sure that you have up-to-date household insurance.