We all look forward to going on holiday all year round but don't spoil it by risking coming home and finding that you have been the victim of a burglary.
Thieves are increasingly monitoring social media to help select properties to target because people have given away the fact that they are on holiday or status updates have highlighted they are out for the evening.
It only takes two minutes on average to break into a property and ten minutes to seize valuables and leave, so broadcasting where you are and what you are doing can be an expensive mistake.
• Don’t tell people you’re out of the country by “checking in” at airports or holiday destinations on social media
• Only post holiday pictures when you return home you don’t want to advertise an empty house!
• Don’t tag your location on social media as it tells people you’re not at home
• Remember not too much information about yourself and your life away on social media!
Protect your home
This may seem like a long list of things to do before you go on holiday but could prevent you being a victim
• Don't put your home address on luggage labels until you are making the homeward journey. Address labels can be seen by anyone handling your luggage - and they will then know you are away from your property.
• Think about moving valuable or highly sentimental items to a safe place, out of view, while you are away.
• Ask a trusted friend or relative living nearby to keep an eye on your property. Ask them to pop into the house each day to make sure there aren't any letters piling up behind the front door or to make sure there aren't any free newspapers sticking out of the letterbox.
• Ask them to check around the house when they visit to make sure there are no signs of forced entry, remembering to check the garage and the garden shed. If someone is unfortunate to be burgled while they are away, it is sometimes difficult to establish when the break in occurred.
• If you are going to be away for a long time ask them to mow the lawn so that the garden doesn't look neglected - you can always do the same for them while they are away.
• Invest in some light timer switches and use them on lamps in bedrooms and on the landing, timing them to come on in the evening so it looks like there is someone in the house. (make sure your electrics are in top notch condition before leaving lighting switched on in an unattended house).
• If you aren't already a member of the Neighbourhood Watch group consider joining. If you are a member of the local Neighbourhood Watch let them know when you are away and ask them to keep a particular eye on your property. Also let them know if you have people, such as a gardener calling at the house and when they are due to be there. Then they will know if there are unexpected people calling at the house. If you give your neighbour a set of keys, make sure they don't put your name or address on them.
• Make sure your possessions are security marked. There are several ways of doing this including ultra violet pens or Smartwater Kits which can be bought from your Neighbourhood Watch group.
• If you are leaving the car behind make sure you lock it in the garage if you have one. Also put additional security devices such as steering wheel locks on the vehicle. If you are taking your car think about offering your neighbours the use of your driveway while you are away.
• If you are leaving the car put the car keys away out of sight and also remove house keys from the back door and put them away out of sight.
• Close and lock all windows, doors and patio doors – it sounds obvious, but it is alarming how many people leave windows open when they are not in the house. (If you do not already have locks on downstairs windows, consider fitting them).