WHO DO YOU TELL?
Burglaries are so common now that nearly everyone knows someone who’s been a victim of a burglary. Our homes and cars have expensive alarms, our doors have extra locks, yet despite these preventative precautions, are we guilty of unwittingly inviting the burglar into our homes? Who do you tell you’ll be away from home?
We all recognise the over enthusiastic friend or neighbour, dashing about in a whirlwind of activity, buying clothing, toiletries, foreign money or traveller’s cheques and telling everyone who’ll listen, in a loud, animated way that they’re off to goodness knows where for heaven knows how long. We enthuse with them then go on our way wondering how many others know they’re off on holiday leaving an unprotected home. So when it comes to our turn of planning our holidays away, we make a mental note not to say too much to anyone, for fear of laying our vulnerable homes open to attack. Yet despite knowing these risks, we can still inadvertantly leave clues that our property is empty.
The first step in taking a break away from home is to book somewhere to stay. No matter whether this is abroad or here in England, just the very fact that we’re giving the booking staff our name and address and telling them we’ll be staying elsewhere for a certain length of time means we’re taking a risk. How do we know the booking staff won’t pass on this valuable information? The truth is, we don’t and what’s more, how many other people are in the travel agents supposedly browsing when their sole purpose could be to eavesdrop. A little tip here would be to have your holiday dates and your address written on a slip of paper. At least that way no-one can overhear your personal details by accident. When the clerk asks for this information you just hand them the paper.
When your holiday date draws near there are several people you’ll need to tell of your impending absence. Your newsagent will of course have to know if you have papers delivered to your door. Many people still have their milk delivered so you will have to tell the milkman. Then there‘s the trusted neighbour or friend who always keeps an eye on your property when you’re not there. All are potential risks. We may well trust the newsagent, milkman and neighbour but they might unwittingly pass on this information. Imagine the scene, the trusted neighbour chatting in the street to her oldest friend who says, “Have you heard on the news about all those fires in Australia?”
“Oh yes and you know who’s there at the moment don’t you?” our worried friend replies. “I hope she’s not anywhere near those fires.”
Who’s overheard this conversation? There’s no way we can guard against this scenario except perhaps to ask our trusted house watcher not to tell anyone else we’re away from home. We can also help ourselves a little. Instead of asking someone to come in every evening to close the curtains and switch on a light–an obvious sign to anyone watching–fit timers to lamps, both upstairs and down and have heavily patterned net curtains at the window. Substantial nets mean you can close the blinds or curtains and these won’t be seen from outside in the daytime. Taking these measures will prevent someone having to come in twice a day.
Ensure your mail cannot be seen from outside. Mounting mail is a real giveaway to a burglar. If your front door is mostly glass just hang a covering on the lower panel so the mail can drop behind it. Make sure the labels on your luggage bear your address in small letters so anyone wanting to read it would have to get really close to read it. It’s even better if your suitcases are the type that have a hideaway address tag.
Taking these measures won’t completely eliminate the risk while you’re away but they will certainly go some way in making your home safe and you can go away with the knowledge that you’ve done your best to protect yourself. Have a happy holiday.