It’s the time of year where we jet off to far-away places and escape the worries of day-to-day life. The safety of your house should be the last thing on your mind as you relax by the pool, so made-to-measure blinds specialist Apollo Blinds has put together its top tips on how you can keep your home safe whilst you’re on holiday.
Be honest. Would you trust everyone on your social media feed with your most valuable possessions?
We all want to share our holiday snaps but if you want to protect your home when you’re abroad then keep the social media posts of you on the beach to a minimum.
Once you have published something on social media, it is in the public domain, meaning you no longer have control over who sees it. Try to resist checking into the airport or hotel with Facebook or flooding your news feed with excited status updates about when you are leaving the country. If you must share then keep it vague and don’t give away details of your travel dates, where you are going or how long you will be away.
And whilst you’re being careful in the virtual world, it’s also an idea to watch where and who you talk to about your trip in the real world. You never know who is listening so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
According to the Metropolitan Police, windows are one of the most common entry and exit routes for burglars, as well as being a showcase for your valuables. Fitting window blinds is a cheap and easy way to add an extra layer of defence to your home, especially if they are made of a noisy material like aluminium that could help to raise an alarm. Venetian blinds, made up of numerous wooden slats held together with cords or tapes, are also easy to become tangled in when trying to get through a window. Just the sight of a noisy venetian blind can be enough to put off an opportunistic burglar.
Mostly security is just common sense but there are gadgets available that can help to make your house looked lived in, giving the impression that somebody is home even when it is empty. If you really want to ramp up the security, then add a motor to your blinds. Apollo Blind’s Somfy® automation systems allow motors to be controlled via a timer or light sensor meaning they can open and close dependent upon the time of day.
For more information about Apollo’s made-to-measure blinds and shutters visit www.apollo-blinds.co.uk or call 01924 413 048.
4) Fit A Good Burglar Alarm
Protecting your home is all about making life harder for criminals; if they spy a potential obstacle it could be enough to make them move on to the next (easier) target. A good burglar alarm is an investment in the safety of your home and family, even if it may seem like a lot of money initially.
There are different types of alarm to choose from including, bells only, speech diallers, wireless and non-wireless, so do your research before you commit to paying any money. Always buy from a reputable and use an installer that is affiliated to an inspectorate, such as National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security System and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). For more information on comparing burglar alarms see the Which? website.
5) And Use It
It’s surprising how many people have burglar alarms but don’t use them. Did you know that some household insurers won’t pay out if you have a burglar alarm fitted that’s not been set? They see this as failing to take reasonable steps to protect your property, so make sure you’re covered and set the alarm before you jet off!
6) Check, Check And Check Again
Sometimes it pays to be paranoid. It sounds so simple but open or unlocked windows and doors are an invitation to burglars. Check and double check that you have shut all of your doors and windows before you leave the house. If you are leaving in the middle of the night, do it the night before when you are less likely to miss something. Studies have also shown that burglars are more likely to break into your house if the front gate is open, so don’t forget this vital detail.
7) You’ve Got Mail
There’s no better way to signify that a house is empty than a growing pile of unopened post behind the front door. Cancel any regular deliveries and don’t order anything to come whilst you are away. Ask a friend or relative to call in and pick up your mail or use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, which can hold on to letters and parcels for up to 66 days and deliver them when you return.
8) Neighbourhood Watch
Having somebody to watch your house whilst you are away can really help to protect your home. Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on things or hire a professional house sitter. Use a reputable company such as Homesitters, which guarantees its service because it directly employs and vets its 1,000 plus sitters. If this is too costly, then try a matchmaking service like TrustedHousesitters.com. It takes a little more leg work because the onus is on you to vet a potential sitter, however, many of them work for free in return for a break away.
9) Vary Your Routine
It may sound neurotic to think that somebody is watching you but it pays to try and vary the times you leave the house so that it’s less obvious when you’re not following your normal routine. Get up early and walk the dog rather than doing it when you come home. Perhaps drive some days and walk others or take an alternative route to work so that you leave at a different time.
10) Give Your Valuables A Holiday
Leaving everything on show is an open invitation to an opportunistic robber. Hide your high-worth items around the house or better still ask somebody you trust to look after them whilst you are away. We’re not talking bulky goods like televisions but smaller portable items that you can’t live without, such as jewellery or tablets. Finally, hide your car keys rather than hanging them on a hook behind the door.
Which? comparison site – http://www.which.co.uk/
Metropolitan Police – http://content.met.police.uk/Site/crimepreventionbumblebee
2) Apollo Blinds