THE dog has gone off to the kennels, the suitcases are packed, passports checked, suntan cream bought. Yes it’s holiday time.
As the schools break up and the main summer holiday-get-away starts, Warwickshire Police is keen to remind holidaymakers that spending just a few minutes preparing some extra home security, will help to ensure your home stays safe and secure while you are away.
In recent weeks a number of houses in the county, where the owners have been away on holiday, have been targeted by burglars.
“There can be few things as heartbreaking as coming home from a wonderful holiday to find your home has been broken into and treasured belongings stolen,” said DCI Steve Quinn, who is leading Operation Crunch, the force focus on reducing domestic burglary.
“A burglar is more likely to be attracted to burgle a house that looks as if there is no one at home so if you can take steps to make it look as if people are at home your house will be less of a target.”
Among the extra security preparations it is worth considering are:
·Cancel newspapers and – if you have milk delivered – cancel it.
·Give a trusted neighbour a key in case of emergencies and ask them to check the house a few times while you are away.
·Ask your neighbour to make sure letters and free newspapers are pushed right inside the letter box. If you have a glass door ask them to clear the letters away from behind the door.
·Buy some timer switches so that lamps and radios can be timed to switch on and off during the day, giving the impression that someone is at home.
·If you are away for a longer time ask your neighbour to mow the grass - you can always return the favour when they go away.
·Don’t leave a message on your telephone answer machine saying you are away.
·Make sure out buildings such as sheds and garages are securely locked. Some burglars use garden tools to try to break in to your home.
·Don’t leave any spare house keys in the garage, shed or any other “safe” place. Burglars know where to look.
·Ensure you lock all your doors and windows before you leave for your holiday and remove the keys from the locks inside the house so that doors cannot be unlocked by someone if they do get inside your home.
·Close and lock side gates
·If you have a burglar alarm – use it.
·Ask your neighbour to put their car on your drive while you are away
·For longer term planning, consider installing outside security lights as burglars don’t like to be illuminated.
·Use a property marking solution on valuable items. If they do get stolen it will enable them to be returned to you if they are recovered and also prove to police the item has been stolen – assisting in securing a conviction.
·Join your Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
·If you see someone acting suspiciously near a house that you know someone is away call the police.
If you would like further advice on home security contact your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme or contact the Community Prevention Unit at Warwickshire Police. 01926 415000