When you’re going on holiday this year, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about the house. Did I lock the doors? Did I leave the oven on? But sometimes you just can’t help it. You’ll spend the whole flight worrying and coming up with all sorts of crazy scenarios that would never happen in a million years.
The best way to put those fears aside is to make sure that you’re protecting your house properly when you’re away. It helps to be on good terms with the neighbours because you can get them to watch over the place for you and you’ll rest easy knowing that somebody is always keeping an eye on the house. Beyond that, you can install smart cameras that you can view on your phone from anywhere in the world, and smart locks that will tell you if the door is locked or not. Where the oven is concerned, you’ll just have to make extra sure that you’ve switched it off before you leave.
It’s also important that you prepare for the worst and get some home insurance so you can at least replace any items that were stolen if you do get burgled while you’re away.
Those are all great ways of protecting your house but if you really want to keep your house and all of your stuff safe, you need to ensure that your home is as unattractive to burglars as possible, which means knowing what they’re looking for. When they’re sizing up houses to break into, they’ll look for easy access points first. That means locking all of the doors and gates to the garden as well as putting in some security lights to scare them off. After looking for ways to get in, they’ll be looking at what you’ve got in the house that’s worth stealing. Hiding those items so they can’t be seen from outside goes a long way to protecting yourself from burglars, but what exactly are they after? These are the most commonly stolen items, some obvious and some you might never have thought of.
It’s no surprise that thieves want to steal TV’s. They can sell them on easily, for a good price, and pretty much everybody has at least one in the house. However, they aren’t as high on the list as you might think. Getting out of the house with a stolen TV is no easy feat. It means having to unscrew it from the wall and get out without anybody noticing them, which is quite difficult, especially if you have an anti theft bracket. The big TV in the living room isn’t likely to be their first target but if you’ve got smaller ones in the kitchen or bedrooms, you should hide those where you can.
Laptops And Tablets
When it comes to expensive electronics, the smaller the better. That’s why they’re far more likely to be attracted to a house that has laptops and tablets lying around everywhere. Most households have a few and thieves can make more money by stealing those, and it’s far easier than getting a massive TV out of your house unnoticed. Stash them under beds or in cupboards, or take them with you if you’ve got the space. You can also get laptop locks that stop people from opening them if they do get stolen.
Cars are a bit of a risk depending on where they are. If they’re in the front driveway or in a garage you should be ok. Your neighbours know that you’re away so alarm bells will start ringing if they hear windows smashing and cars driving away. However, if the car keys are clearly visible inside the house, they’ll probably get away before anybody can call the police. Don’t worry too much about the car but take the keys with you or at least hide them well before you go away.
Cars are tricky for thieves to get away with, but bikes are far easier. They won’t make any noise and although they aren’t going to sell for as much as a car, they’ll be easier to shift without attracting too much attention because they can’t be tracked as easily as a car. If you’ve got a decent bike in the garden, that’s going to attract thieves. The other thing to remember is that a lot of home insurance won’t cover bikes that are in the garden so get some separate bike insurance from somebody like Velosure just in case. As a general rule, it’s best to bring the bike into the house when you go away, and lock it up inside with a lock on each wheel. Burglars will see that and decide not to bother.
When you’re listing things that are at risk of being stolen, your rusty old toolbox in the shed probably doesn’t feature, but it should. Power tools are worth a lot of money and they’re a prime target for thieves because they’re usually kept in a relatively unsecured shed. It’s worth putting extra locks on the shed and on the toolbox itself. Another good tip is to take the batteries from the power tools and hide them inside the house somewhere. That way, even if they get into the shed, they won’t bother taking the tools because they’ll struggle to sell them without a power source.
If you’re on medication of some kind, burglars might be interested in that as well. There’s a big black market for prescription painkillers and they’re a very small item that’s easy to steal. You’re probably ok because they’ll be in a cupboard in the bathroom anyway, but always check before you leave that you haven’t left any on display anywhere.
This is an obvious one but it’s worth reiterating. If burglars can steal a load of cash from your house then they don’t have to go through the whole process of trying to sell stolen goods which is risky. You already know that leaving big piles of cash in full view is a bad idea but what about anything that suggests you might have large amounts of cash around. If they can see a small cash safe or a cupboard or drawer with a hefty padlock on it, they’ll be interested in whatever is in there. It’s a good idea to lock things away but do it somewhere that they won’t be able to see from outside.
When you’re going away for a while, don’t just think about protecting the big high value items like TV’s. Burglars are looking for the easiest way to make quick money so it’s the smaller items that you need to protect the most.