10 ways to make sure you're burgled when you're away

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dusting for prints

There are so many things to think about before you go away, that in the maelstrom of packing and panicking we can easily fall into the common traps that leave our properties vulnerable and our belongings easy picking for thieves while we're away.

So we run down the ten most common mistakes, in our guide to how to get burgled while you're away.


The odds of getting burgled during the summer are already on your side, because the number of burglaries rise during July and August. Last summer, insurers dealt with 752 burglary claims a day - more than any other time of year.

However, with these ten steps you can shorten your odds even further.

1. Tell people you're going away.
Make sure your happy news is spread as far and wide as possible - announcing it on Facebook is a really good way to tell everyone that your property will be empty for two weeks. That way thousands of friends and friends-of-friends will know exactly when your home is vulnerable.

2. But don't tell the neighbours
If you blab it to the neighbours - especially trusted neighbours who have a key - they'll just pop in regularly to check that your home is safe and secure.

3. Don't ask anyone to take out your bins
Either leave them out for the whole time you are away, or leave them stinking out the garden. Either way should make it abundantly clear there's no-one home.

4. Neglect the garden for a couple of weeks
The summer is ideal growing time, so make sure you leave the lawn nice and long and the weeds blooming, so they can get out of hand in your absence and indicate to everyone that you're either away or a garden slob.

5. Arrange lots of deliveries
Don't bother cancelling the paper or milk, and make sure you order plenty of things online so your letterbox can fill up nicely and leave mail poking out to advertise your absence.

6. Close curtains or blinds
That way anyone walking past during the day will know you're not there, and can pop back when it's dark in order to burgle you.

7. Leave the lights off
Not only will you save money on electricity, but a darkened home should help invite in wary burglars.

8. If you have to use a timer, make it obvious
Some people will insist on using a timer to bring the lights on for a couple of hours in the evening. If you can't break the habit, then make sure you do it in a front room, as close as possible to the street, so everyone will be able to see that the illuminated room is still entirely empty.

9. Mark your luggage carefully
Make sure you write your home address on your luggage, so that any keen airport worker gets an opportunity to see which homes will be empty for the duration of your holiday.

10. Leave your home unsecured
If all else fails, don't lock the door, and either leave windows ajar, or leave them unlocked. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure you leave that turned off too.

If you follow these steps carefully, you should ensure you can return home to the kind of ransacked property that makes every break so wonderfully relaxing.