It does not matter if we choose the beach or the mountain, a heavenly place or the town, or if we are lucky enough to be able to combine the two. At last summer holidays arrive! And, with them, for a few days our place of residence changes. The house is empty because we move to hotels, apartments or our second homes. And the thieves-or squatters-know this. Therefore, we must prepare our home before they pay us a visit.
How? We give you 13 tips to avoid a brake in. And one more advice, in case it has already occurred.
The number of home burglaries recorded a considerable increase in the summer months, especially in August which, next to March and January, are the months with the most activity from undesired guests. Of course, there are areas in Spain where the figures climb up. This is the case, for example, of Madrid and other capitals. According to the Spanish Unespa insurance institution, during 2018 a robbery was committed every 26 minutes is Spain and, in addition, a house in this city has a 42% more chance of being broken into than in the rest of Spain, a fact that both the Municipal and National Police corroborate. These figures are almost reciprocated in the Coast when people leave in September and return to their first home.
The modus operandi.
According to police sources, the modus operandi most used by thieves on the Coast to enter houses continues to be the forcing of windows, followed by the forcing of doors and climbing up balconies. The methods are increasingly sophisticated, but, undoubtedly, the star is the slip system: i.e. insert a thin semi-rigid sheet, such as an x-ray or a credit card, into the door frame, even though this can be avoided by closing all the locks with key. To this technique, in recent years bumping has been incorporated, which consists of destroying the lock using a manipulated key and an object with which to hit it. Hence, from the Spanish Police Headquarters recommend insistently the installation of anti-dumping locks, a measure that we can implement from just 60 euros.
Practical measures to prevent thefts
There are other measures that can prevent us from coming to our long-awaited vacation and having to call the Spanish police.
The Police Headquarters each year, spell out the following recommendations:
• 1. Check that we leave the doors and windows tightly closed.
• 2. Do not leave valuables or money and, if there is no other way, keep them in a safe place. From the Police remember that there are credit institutions that take charge of these objects during the holidays.
• 3. Make a detailed list of valuables, jewellery, electronic devices, pc`s, etc., with their serial numbers or inscriptions, to hinder their subsequent sale and facilitate their identification and return, if they are recovered.
• 4. Install a time clock that turns the light, radio or television on and off, at different times. This will simulate that we are at home.
• 5. Do not disclose your absence. Only trustworthy people should know that we are going on vacation. The photos that we upload to social networks can adorn our profile, but also reveal to the possible thief that we are not at home.
• 6. Do not leave visible signs that the house is unoccupied. Do not lower the external shutters completely is like shouting that the house is unoccupied.
• 7. Install a good security door, a bolt, a fish-eye viewer for the entrance door and a good alarm.
• 8. If we live in a basement, we must secure the windows with bars preferably.
• 9. If our house is a villa, it is advisable to leave the entrance, the porch and the front or rear courtyards illuminated at certain hours.
• 10. If we lose, our keys are stolen or we have just moved to a house or apartment, the first thing we must do is change the door’s bowls.
• 11. It is not advisable to disconnect the electric current because the door bell will not work and it may be another indication that the house is empty.
• 12. It is advisable to tell a trusted friend to pick up our mail from the mailbox and, if we have plants, to go to water them and take a walk in our absence. “Leave your address and contact phone while you are away, and also another set of keys, which is always safer than using hiding places,” this is confirmed by the police. And, of course, they warn us not to leave the keys in the mail box, pots or under mats, since it is the first place where thieves look.
• 13. Do not leave a telephone message type: “You are calling Smith’s house, we are on vacation, when we return we call you …”. It is preferable to keep the usual message or a neutral one, type: “At this moment we cannot answer you, please leave your message and we will call you …”.
And if they have entered the house, what to do?
If when we return we see the door of our home open or a broken window, from the Police they warn us that it is better not to enter. What we should do is call them 091 immediately from a mobile phone, from a neighbour’s house or from a public phone. And they remind us that we do not touch anything inside to avoid destroying evidence.