We love the much-anticipated Great British summer. From eating al fresco outdoors, to escaping on a well-deserved getaway, it’s the season of (we hope) fun in the sun. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when your home is at risk. Burglary and theft-related crime peak when the light nights arrive*. Couple this with the fact your guard might be down – think windows left open in hot weather, going on holiday, and the like – and it could spell disaster.
The good news? There are some easy ways to up your home’s security during the summer months. Cue a little help from your friends and neighbours – coupled with a touch of common sense.
Check your windows
The simplest and most pivotal piece of summer home security is ‘the window check’. It seems obvious, but we leave our windows unlocked and unsupervised a lot more than we think.
Even leaving your windows open in an unoccupied room while you’re at home poses a risk. So stop and think – if nobody’s in the room do you need the window open? If you’re the last one to leave a room, try and remember to close the window behind you.
Of course, the real risk is leaving your windows open when nobody’s at home. An unoccupied-looking home and a wide-open window make it too easy for would-be thieves. Try to do a sweep of your house to check the windows are closed before you leave. Windows on the latch can be forced open, so always make sure they’re fully closed.
Leaving your windows open while you’re asleep comes with a risk, too, so weigh this up based on the layout of your home.
Keep your garden clear
When the warmer weather hits, we’re always popping in and out of the garden. Before you know it, you’re almost living in your garden and it’s amazing how many of your valuables end up outside. So when it’s time to head back indoors, remember to take them in with you.
Think about items you permanently keep in your garden, too. Things like your garden tools could be used by someone to force their way into your own home, so try and keep them locked away in a shed. Sure, someone could try and break into your shed – but they’re less likely to risk making a noise to get to them.
When you’re away
It goes without saying the biggest risk to your home is if you’re heading off on a summer holiday. If it’s too obvious you’re away, thieves will be tempted as they’re far less likely to be interrupted. Follow these tips, though, and this can be easily avoided.
Ask for a helping hand
There are lots of things a friend or neighbour can do to help keep your home secure while you’re away.
Ask if they can give your house and garden a quick check every few days, to make sure everything’s in order.
If you’ve taken your car with you, ask one of your neighbours to park on your driveway, so it looks like someone’s at home.
If you’re going away for a while, an overgrown front garden is a tell-tale sign, so ask if they could give your grass the once over and water your plants when they’re doing theirs.
If you’ve a got a good relationship with your friend or neighbour, give them a spare key and ask them to collect any post, which would otherwise be on show. A huge pile of newspapers on your front door mat is a dead giveaway.
It might feel like a big ask, but most people are happy to help. And the next time they’re away, you can return the favour.
Prep your home
You might be sunning it up far away from home – but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to do anything. Prepping your home before you leave is key.
Set some of your lights on a timer. A house with no lights on after dark as good as confirms you’re not in. Setting a timer for a few lights around your home is the easy answer. You may have reservations about wasting electricity, but in the grand scheme of things, it’ll be worth it.
Hide your valuables – don’t leave anything worth stealing in plain view of a ground floor window. Box them up and put them out of sight, so they’re not on show.
You’ll probably check and check again that you’ve locked all your doors before you leave, but do you check your windows, too? They should be locked, with the key out of sight.
A house with closed curtains during the day is a bit of a giveaway, as is a house with open curtains all night. So make sure there’s a mix of open and closed curtains – giving nothing away.
Check your building and contents insurance, so you know what your policy covers and the requirements you need to stick to when you’re not at home.
Follow these simple steps, and you can do away with the security worries and get on with enjoying the Great British summer.
*Office for National Statistics https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesquar