Make sure bur­glars aren’t in­vited on your sum­mer hol­i­days

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - St­ef­fan Ge­orge

WHEN you’re pre­par­ing for a hol­i­day, it’s easy to con­cen­trate your at­ten­tion on pack­ing, find­ing pass­ports and mak­ing ar­range­ments to get to the air­port. But you should also make sure that your most im­por­tant as­set, your home, is well pro­tected. Here are some tips:

Check your house from the out­side in.

Make sure that you empty your gar­den of any lad­ders, tools or other ob­jects that could be used to break into your prop­erty. If you have ex­ter­nal stor­age such as sheds, out­houses and garages, they should be se­cured with a suit­ably ap­proved lock. A good source of ad­vice is in­de­pen­dent se­cu­rity prod­uct test­ing house Sold Se­cure: www.sol­dse­cure. com.

Make sure that all valu­ables such as lap­tops, jewellery and keep­sakes are stored away out of sight, as leav­ing valu­ables on show gives po­ten­tial bur­glars even greater in­cen­tive to break in.

Don’t for­get to can­cel reg­u­lar de­liv­er­ies of milk and news­pa­pers, as noth­ing ex­poses an empty house more than piles of milk bot­tles and mail stack­ing up in a porch. Con­sider set­ting up a Keep­safe ac­count with Royal Mail, which will hold your mail for up to 66 days and de­liver it the day af­ter you re­turn.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.roy­almail.com/per­sonal/ re­ceiv­ing-mail/keep­safe.

It might sound ob­vi­ous, but re­mem­ber to lock all doors and win­dows be­fore you leave, and set your alarm.

Leave a spare key with a trusted friend or rel­a­tive so that they can pop in a cou­ple of times a week to check the prop­erty and re­move a build up of post from the front door. It’s worth in­vest­ing in a patented key sys­tem, which carry le­gal pro­tec­tion pre­vent­ing copies of keys be­ing made with­out proof of own­er­ship.

It can be tempt­ing to shout about trav­el­ling on so­cial net­work­ing sites, check­ing in at the Coliseum or post­ing pic­tures from the Grand Canyon, but re­mem­ber that there could be hun­dreds of strangers learn­ing that your house will be empty for two weeks.

Be care­ful what you say on voice­mails and an­swer­ing ma­chines too, call­ers don’t need to know that you’re away, just say that you can’t come to the phone at that mo­ment.

Leave cur­tains open as you nor­mally would when you’re at home.

Leav­ing them un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally closed will draw more at­ten­tion to your prop­erty.

You can also in­vest in light timers that give the im­pres­sion that there is some­one in at night.

Place them in rooms at the front and back of the house, and re­mem­ber not to set them all so they come on/go off at the same time.

You should also un­plug your tele­vi­sions, toast­ers, ovens and com­put­ers to pro­tect them from power surges.

If you live alone, con­tact your lo­cal po­lice on the non­emer­gency num­ber – 101 – to let them know that your house will be un­oc­cu­pied for a while.

You can also in­form trusted neigh­bours and ask them to keep watch over your prop­erty.

It may also be a good idea to have a thor­ough se­cu­rity check car­ried out by an MLA li­censed lock­smith be­fore you go away.

Se­cu­rity sys­tems are con­stantly up­dat­ing and if you’ve lived in a prop­erty for a while, your cur­rent mea­sures could ac­tu­ally be out of date, and in breach of your home in­sur­ance stip­u­la­tions.

Don’t leave spare house keys, garage keys or car keys so they can be seen any­where.

Side win­dows can eas­ily be smashed to reach keys, so con­sider adding re-en­forced glass or adding dec­o­ra­tive grilles.

Your lo­cal MLA ap­proved lock­smith can ad­vise. You may also want to con­sider get­ting a safe pro­fes­sion­ally sup­plied and in­stalled to store valu­able items.

St­ef­fan Ge­orge is de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor for the Mas­ter Lock­smiths As­so­ci­a­tion

www.lock­smiths.co.uk

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