Create a habit
Always lock up if you’re going out, even if it’s just to a communal area in your building, like a laundry. A surprising number of burglars don’t have to use force but simply get in through an open window or door. Create a habit so that every time you go out, your house is secure.
Leave a visible light on if you go out in the evenings and don’t leave a spare key in a hiding place (under a doormat or fake stone, or in a plant pot for example). Leave spare keys with a family member, friend or trusted neighbour instead.
You could consider fitting a key safe. This is a secure box fitted to an outside wall, containing a set of house keys and opened by a code. Choose one that’s police approved. Only give the code to trusted people and fit it somewhere out of sight. Your local council or Home Improvement Agency may be able to help you fit one.
Going on holiday
If you’re going away on holiday, don’t leave your house looking unoccupied.
- cancel newspaper, milk and any other regular deliveries
- create the impression someone is home by using light and radio timers – you can buy them at many local shops – but don’t use a timer switch in a room that passers-by can easily see into
- tidy up your garden and mow the lawn before you go
- ask a friend or trusted neighbour to keep an eye on things. They could park their car in your driveway, close gates, water plants and make sure post doesn’t pile up. For a fee, you could use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service. They’ll hold back your mail for up to two months until you get home
- put valuable items out of sight or in a safe, or leave them with a trusted friend or family member.
- close curtains and blinds – this is a giveaway to burglars that no one’s at home
- put your home address on your luggage
- tell anyone outside your family and close friends that you’re going away or for how long
- post your holiday photos on Facebook, for example, until you get back and be careful what you say on social media.
Just before you leave, lock all doors and windows and set your burglar alarm if you have one.
If you’re going away on a longer trip, make sure your house is still covered by your insurance policy.