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    4 out of 5 burglaries occur when a house is unoccupied, making those couple of weeks of tropical sunshine and relaxation for you, the perfect opportunity for thieves.

    The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your home is secure whilst you’re away. We’ve put together 10 simple tips for you to follow so you can take that well deserved break, relaxing in the knowledge that your home and belongings are as safe as possible.

    1. Test your alarm

    If you don’t set it very regularly, do a test run a few weeks before you’re due to leave, to allow time for an engineer to visit if there is a problem. The last thing you want is to discover your security or fire alarm isn’t working just before you head off to the airport. And, most importantly, don’t forget to switch it on before you leave!

    2. Check your window and door locks are working properly

    Burglars are clever and quick to spot an opportunity – an open window or faulty side door; everything should be locked up tight. Again, check the locks and window fixtures a few weeks before you go, so you have time to repair any problems. Consider installing security sensors as these can alert you to any doors, windows, barns, or garages left open so you can secure your property with ease.

    3. Maintenance

    You don’t want to come back from holiday to find that your alarm was faulty and didn’t activate when an intruder entered the property, or even that it kept your neighbours awake all night. Check your maintenance schedule and if necessary book a maintenance visit before you go. Regular maintenance and system upgrading is the best way to protect your home.

    4. Key holders

    If your alarm does go off while you’re away, an alarm receiving centre will contact you or another key holder. If you have entrusted a friend or neighbour with this responsibility, make sure they will be around while you’re away and ensure that their details are up to date. This is important as they may be contacted if your alarm is activated while you’re away.

    5. Tell-tale signs

    Leaflets poking out of the letterbox, bins left in the street, parcels on the doorstep – these are all signals to opportunistic burglars that you are away. Cancel deliveries and ask a trusted neighbour to move your post out of sight or bring in your bins. If you are away for longer, you could consider the Royal Mail Keepsafe service – they’ll keep your mail for up to two months while you’re gone.

    Protecting your home while you're away
    Protecting your home while you're away


    6. Be wary about social media

    Believe it or not, 1 in 12 Brits have reported a burglary after posting on social media, with more than half of these admitting they had location tagging turned on. Make sure that only people you know and trust are aware of your holiday plans. Announcing your holiday trips and posting snaps with tagged locations of your whereabouts all over social media might seem like a great idea, but that information could easily be shared with and reached by total strangers.

    7. Move valuables

    If you normally leave bicycles or power tools in your shed, consider putting them in the house while you are away, or buy a very sturdy lock. Don’t leave valuable items such as laptops or tablets on display and visible through downstairs windows. Move as much as you can into lockable cupboards, well away from view.

    8. Fake it

    Making your house look occupied is another good way to deter burglars. Buy a timer switch to turn lights on and off in the evenings or consider investing in smart lighting solutions which are controllable from your phone! You could also invite a neighbour to park on your drive while you are away, as it will look like someone is home, or ask a trusted friend with a key to close the blinds and curtains in the evening and open them again in the mornings. Alternatively, you could invest in smart curtains and blinds which are automated and controlled through an app on your phone! You could also invite a friend to house-sit, then someone really is home!

    9. Spare keys

    Burglars like to get into a property as quickly as possible – and the easiest way is with a key. If they suspect your property is unoccupied, they may look around for a spare key. If you have one hidden under a rock or flowerpot, it would probably be a good idea to move it before you go away. Put your spare key somewhere safe indoors or with a trusted friend or neighbour.

    10. Get a smart alarm app

    With a security system like the Chris Lewis Smart Home System you can control, view and receive notifications with an app for flexibility and convenience. This means that even if you’re sunning it up on the beach in Spain, you can keep an eye on your property. And if you get off the plane and remember you’ve forgotten to set your house alarm – it only takes a quick tap on your app to resolve!

    Protecting your home while you're away
    Protecting your home while you're away

    Chris Lewis Fire & Security design, install and maintain a complete range of fire and security systems for residential and commercial customers. From fire alarms to HD CCTV and access control, we work with you to design a system that is right for you. With over 25 years of experience, our team of professional engineers work throughout Oxfordshire and the Home Counties to deliver peace of mind and excellent service.