Residents of Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to ensure peace of mind while they are away on holiday by making sure their homes are secure.
Almost half of all burglaries happen when a house or flat is empty but the risk can be reduced by taking simple safety measures.
The Community Safety Partnership’s Acquisitive Crime Action Group, which has representatives from the police, fire and rescue service and Carmarthenshire County Council, has discussed what householders can do to reduce the already low risk of being burgled.
Police community safety officer PC Rob Chapman said: “We want people to take simple precautions before going on holiday so that they can enjoy peace of mind while they’re away.
“It’s a good idea to get help from family members or your neighbours. You could ask them to collect post, park in the drive, mow the lawn, open and close curtains, and so on. Anything to make the place look lived in.
“Don’t advertise the fact that you are going away. For instance, don’t stand around with your cases waiting for a taxi. Simply pack your things, pack the car and go.”
He also advised letting a neighbour know when you are on holiday and how to contact you, or someone who can act on your behalf, in an emergency.
Before you go:
• Make sure your home looks occupied. Ideally, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to look after it.
• Don’t leave your curtains closed in the daytime as this shows the house is empty.
• Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights on when it goes dark.
• Cancel any regular deliveries such as newspapers or milk.
• Avoid discussing holiday plans where strangers could hear details of your absence from home.
• Cut the lawn before you go.
• Uncollected mail is a sign you are away. The Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service will keep your mail for up to two months while you are away.
• Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members or a bank, or lock them in a safe.
• Do not put your home address on your luggage when you are travelling to your holiday destination.
• If you normally leave valuable bicycles or other items in the garden shed, consider putting them in the house.
• Don’t forget to lock all external doors and windows. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set.