The festive season is dawning on us, with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner. While most of us will celebrating the holidays at home, some of us are jetting off on much-needed vacations this winter. The festive season is always an exciting time, but it appears that in the midst of all the excitement, we’re making some pretty reckless home security mistakes. A new study from Aviva finds that a number of people are making some pretty common home security mistakes. They urge people not to get so excited that they forget to carry out the necessary checks before leaving their homes for the holiday.
There are many smart home security devices available these days that allow us to keep an eye on our homes while we are away. But we shouldn't get too comfortable, slipping into bad home security habits in preparation for planned trips. A few simple steps can help deter burglars and strengthen your home's security.
So, what are the most common pre-holiday security mistakes made by property owners?
1. Leaving a key under the doormat
Never, ever, ever leave a key under the doormat! This allows anyone, particularly burglars, the opportunity to find it. Instead, leave your key with a trusted family member, friend, or neighbour. This one’s definitely a no-brainer but surprisingly, 1 in 10 UK residents leave a copy of their key under a doormat or plant pot while on vacation.
2. Forgetting to lock windows and doors
It’s easy to think a back door is locked, forgetting the last peek into the back garden, or overlook the window in the downstairs toilet that’s left slightly ajar. According to research, two-fifths of homeowners fail to double-check that their windows and doors are locked before leaving for a trip.
3. Leaving valuables visible through the windows
Visible valuables through windows encourage burglars to break into your home, especially if you leave expensive items out... Close your blinds and move your laptop and any other valuable items out of sight of prying eyes. Housebreaking is very common nowadays, and it is recommended that homeowners distribute valuables throughout the house and away from obvious hiding places.
4. Unlocked garages and sheds
It may seem pretty obvious, but make sure you do a scan to make sure all outside entryways, including sheds and garages, are properly closed and locked. Only 43% of homeowners check to make sure their garages and sheds are locked up before leaving on vacation.
5. Not putting away garden furniture
Some outdoor sofas are understandably too large to store, but storing smaller items in a shed or garage can help to prevent opportunistic thefts. Only 19% of us put our best garden furniture away when we go away, costing residents an average of more than £6000, so make sure to lock up before you fly away.
These bad pre-holiday home security habits may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised to hear how many people return from vacation to find themselves dealing with post-holiday headaches. Don’t forget to complete your final checks before leaving!