Dacorum residents urged to keep their homes secure this summer
Police remind residents to make sure their homes are secure while they are away
As many residents are likely to be taking a summer holiday in the coming weeks, Hertfordshire Police is reminding people to make sure their homes are secure when they are away.
Holiday preparations rarely include thinking about if your home is going to be safe while you are away.
But, if you are planning to leave your home empty, even for a short break, it could be the opportunity a burglar is looking for.
Giving your home a lived in look by using timers on lights is a great way to put criminals off.
Remember that sharing your holiday plans on social media posts can also tip off burglars that your home is going to be empty, so make sure your security settings only let people you know see your posts.
If you are at home through the summer, make sure that you don’t leave doors or windows open when you leave the house or go to another part of the house or into the garden, even when it is hot.
Burglars can take advantage of insecurities in the home or outbuilding and garages.
Inspector Nicki Dean, from Hertfordshire Police's Crime Reduction Unit, warned: “Burglaries decreased during the recent lockdowns but now that people are starting to leave homes empty again, they are starting to increase.
"If you leave your home empty for a holiday or just a day trip, burglars will look for signs of an unoccupied home, like unopened letters at the front door, bins not put away or drawn curtains during the day.
"Making it appear that your home is occupied can be the most effective deterrent against burglary.
“Posting pictures or information about your holidays, or checking in at a venue on social media can also tip off criminals so make sure your privacy settings only allow friends to see your posts and photos.”
There are many ways to give your home a ‘lived-in’ look when it’s unoccupied, so that any would-be criminals aren’t tempted:
> Close and lock all windows, doors and outbuildings.
> Do not publish your absence on the internet - status updates, comments and photos can all give away the fact that your home is empty.
> Use timer switches for lamps so that they turn on as it gets dark in the evenings. You could also use a timer switch for a radio.
> Ask your neighbour to put your rubbish or recycling bins back if they’re being collected whilst you’re away – if they’re left out after collection day it could indicate to a passing thief that your house is unoccupied. Be a good neighbour and do the same for them.
> If you are not leaving your car at home, ask a neighbour/friend to park their car on your drive.
> Do not forget to cancel deliveries of milk, newspapers etc.
> Consider moving enticing items, such as laptops and mobile devices, so that they are out of sight.
> You could store valuables in your loft when you go away.
> If you are away for a longer period of time in the summer months, ask your neighbour to cut your grass. This helps to show that the house may be occupied.
> You could also ask someone you trust to help give your home the lived-in look by opening and drawing the curtains, taking in any free newspapers and moving your mail away from the letterbox.
> All these tips can help to give your home the ‘lived-in’ look.
Residents can use the force's community voice platform ‘echo’ to let police know what you think they should be prioritising in your area. Your feedback will help towards shaping local policing priorities, initiatives and campaigns.