While most people remember to cancel subscriptions for the duration of their holiday, few make a checklist to include a host of other security measures when home and workplace are unoccupied nor do they consider hiring a security company.
Fact: ca. 60% of burglaries happen when homes are empty and four out of five burglaries go unpunished, as perpetrators are never caught and convicted, according to latest UK crime figures. The Crime Prevention website publishes a comprehensive checklist for home security while householders are on holiday, but what is true for homes is also true for London’s small offices, cafes, restaurants, shops, boutiques, repair garages for example.
Small businesses are just as vulnerable, when shopkeepers, garage mechanics or independent burger bars are putting signs into their windows saying “Closed for annual holidays – back on…..”
Rural police forces now publish their own holiday checklists to promote greater crime prevention in remoter parts of the country (for example Northumbria Police), where burglars strike larger properties when school holidays prompt residents to head for airports.
Owners of farmhouses and country mansions are likely to consider hiring security companies but London’s “ordinary” households and small businesses probably haven’t viewed this as a viable alternative, yet.
Short of hiring a security guard and equally conscientious guard dog, what can be done to prevent “seasonal” break-ins?
- Run table or desk lamps on timer switches to create an impression there’s somebody at home.
- Cancel subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, milk and other deliveries.
- Only tell trusted friends and neighbours that you are going on holiday. Leave contact details, PIN for alarms and a key with one of them.
- Make a note of serial numbers for electronic possessions. Take pictures of all valuables and store in your mobile phone that you take with you. This will enable police to return belongings when items appear for sale illegally.
- Ask friends or a neighbour to collect your mail every other day, so it won’t stack up on the doormat.