Top tips to keep your belongings secure while on holiday
With school finished for the summer, families across Northern Ireland will now be thinking about getting away on a long-awaited, hard-earned holiday.
However, a leading local security company has issued a warning to families to make sure that their dream holiday doesn’t turn into a nightmare upon their return, as burglars like to target empty homes during the summer holiday months.
Northern Ireland’s largest independent security company, Mercury Security Management, are experts in keeping people and property secure and to help holidaymakers avoid the Summertime Blues, the Lisburn-based company has compiled a list of tips to keep the burglars away and your property safe this summer.
“The summer holiday is an institution in Northern Ireland and something we all look forward to every year,” said Mercury Security director Liam Cullen, “a chance to escape the hectic pace of everyday life and all the stresses that come with it.
“However, there is more to preparing for your summer holiday than buying outfits, packing suitcases and stocking up on sunscreen,” he added.
“Everyone should place home and property security as a priority on their pre-holiday check list and to help with this, we’ve put together a few good pointers that will give your home added protection while you’re away.”
Mercury’s Summer Holiday Security Tips
- Lock before you leave – before you leave, lock all doors and windows, even the upstairs ones. Fit restrictors on windows if possible as thieves can wriggle through any gap larger than a human head. Fit locks at the top and bottom of patio doors.
- Be alarmed – don’t forget to set your burglar alarm. In the excitement and stress of making it out the door and to the airport in time, it is not uncommon for holidaymakers to forget to do the obvious!
- See the light – make sure your outdoor lighting is working and is on a sensor. Visible alarms that light up at night will also make burglars think twice about targeting your house.
- None today thanks – cancel regular deliveries of milk, paper or mail as a build-up outside your front door is a tell-tale sign that your house is unoccupied. Mail can be held until a later date or alternatively, ask someone you trust to collect your post on a daily basis or hide it out of sight.
- Make your home look lived in – try to put burglars off by giving the impression that there is still someone in the house. Use timers for your lights and possibly even your radio. Set your lights to come on at different times during the day, keeping one light on all night.
- Don’t advertise the fact that you’re on holiday – be careful about who you tell that you’re going on holiday and what holiday-related information you post on social networking sites. Check your social media settings to see who has access to your personal details and try to limit to friends only – otherwise strangers (and potential burglars) can see everything you post and will know your house is currently empty.
- Be careful with your luggage – don’t write your address on your luggage label or potential thieves will know you’re not at home. Use only your name and mobile number instead.
- Everybody needs good neighbours – ask your close neighbours, family or friends to keep an eye on the house while you’re away. Give them a key so they can come in, draw the curtains and help make the house look like it’s lived in. It’s a good idea to leave your keys with someone you trust along with details of how to contact you in the event of an emergency.
- Safe and secure – if you don’t have a safe or a strong box, now is the time to invest in one to securely store jewellery, other valuables and important documentation. Then hide it somewhere in your house – or leave with family or friends.
- Inspect your gadgets – ensure that mobiles, laptops and other gadgets are hidden from view. Use an ultraviolet pen to mark items of value, such as televisions and DVD players, with your postcode and house number. This will help police to identify your property more easily if it’s stolen. Try to make sure that larger valuable items, such as guitars, TVs and stereos, can’t easily be seen through windows. Leaving valuable items, including car and house keys, on show gives burglars an incentive to break into your home.
- Shed your fears – make sure that outbuildings such as sheds and garages are locked and alarmed, and securely store any ladders, tools or ornaments that could be used to break windows and doors and help burglars break into to your home. Don’t leave shed or garage keys in view as windows can easily be smashed to reach them and gain entry.
- Keep your car secure – use your car alarm or steering lock and don’t leave items in your car that could be tempting to burglars, like sat nav or stereo systems, CDs or bags. Always put your car in the garage if you have one and make sure the garage is locked.
- Big Brother is watching – if you have serious security concerns, install a CCTV system that can be remotely monitored by a security company like Mercury, as well as allowing you to keep an eye on your property from wherever you are in the world via the internet or your phone. The Mercury Eye is a CCTV which also doubles up as a burglar alarm that is picked up by the company’s monitoring centre or on your phone – and enables you to make contact with the burglar and scare them off.
- Ensure you’re insured – if you’re going on an extended holiday, make sure that your house insurance covers you for the entire duration of your break, as some policies have a limit on the number of weeks that you can be away from your home.
Mercury Security Management is Ireland’s largest independent security company. Since its formation in 2001, the company has established a strong reputation across the industry as a pioneer in the area of integrated security solutions – combining physical manpower with cutting edge technology to service an ever-growing client base all over Ireland and the UK.
The accredited services provided by Mercury Security Management include; Manned Static and Retail Guarding, Concierge Services, Event Security Planning and Management, Systems Maintenance, Burglar Alarm & Fire Monitoring, Key holding and Alarm Response, Satellite Tracked Mobile Patrols, Staff and Vehicle Escort Services, Lone Worker Protection and Monitoring, Vehicle and Asset Tracking and Approved and Accredited Training courses.