In a world of live streaming, social media and public events, it is hard to keep it from people when you are away and your property is empty. Your home can become vulnerable when you make it common knowledge that you are on holiday, staying with your family or even out to watch a movie. If you are sharing your movements on social media, criminals can work out if your home is empty and how long they have to search the property based on the event. We will always encourage you to keep your plans private and only share pictures or videos on social media when you are back home. However, there is another way to deter burglars whilst you are out by pretending someone is home which is call mockupancy. You do not have to be as extreme as the cardboard figurines in Home Alone so we have these five simple tips for creating mockupancy:
Leaving your lights on when you go out for the evening is a useful way to deter criminals by letting them think you are home but this is only practical when going out for the evening and returning that night. If you are staying away overnight for a number of days burglars will notice properties with lights that stay on during the day and do not change. You can now purchase timer switches which you can plug your lamps into and time to come on and off at certain times. If they are used in different rooms at different times it gives an even more detailed sense of mockupancy. This can also be done using modern technologies where you are able to turn lights on from your phone which is useful for nights you are unexpectedly out late.
A burglar will usually do a few checks to see if the property is empty and therefore an easier target including listening through doors and windows to hear if anyone is moving around. You can create the image that someone is home by turning on a radio or television, because when people are watching a programme or listening to a radio show they are often sat down and not making noise from walking around. These audible items can also use timer switches or home automation to control when they are on and also how loud they are.
Nearly all homes have curtains or blinds to protect their privacy when night falls because inside lights make it easy for passers-by to see the interior when it’s dark outside. It also means thieves aren’t able to see what there is to steal or if anyone is home which is why most people will close their curtains when they are out for the evenings. Similarly, to lights, burglars will notice when someone’s curtains have been shut for a consecutive number of days without being opened when it is light outside. For this reason, it is beneficial to ask a trusted friend, family member or neighbour to check in on the property every evening and morning when they can close and open the curtains.
When your post is left to pile up in your post box or by the door under your letter box, burglars assume that you are not home and have not been for a while, making it a good target. If you are going away on holiday you could ask a friend or neighbour to move your post to a safe cupboard, like you would ask them to open your curtains. You can also take advantage of the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service where they are able to hold your mail and deliver it to you when you return and you only need 5 days’ notice to set it up.
On the day your neighbourhood’s bins are collected a strategic burglar would walk down the road to see who has not put their bins on the street outside their home. Anyone who has not would presumably not be at home and this makes their property a desirable target. We suggest you leave your bins at the front of your property and ask your neighbour to move them out onto the street the night before collection and return them once the bins have been emptied. We also suggest before you go away for an extended period of time you ensure all the bins inside your house have been emptied as the smell of rotting food from within the property is also a sign to burglars that the house is empty and have been for some time.
No one wants to return from a relaxing holiday or fun family getaway to find their belongings stolen and safety violated, so use these five easy steps to create a sense of mockupancy by going that extra mile before you go away.
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