Your empty property security options
There is nothing more attractive to opportunistic criminals than a property that appears to be vacant. Theft from the unoccupied property is a concern wherever you live and has been on the rise in recent years. Learning how to secure vacant property and stop theft, occupation by squatters, or vandalism in its tracks should be considered a worthwhile investment with the potential to repay itself many times over.
Criminals consider vacant properties as easy pickings and relish the opportunity to break into a vacant building unopposed. In this post we are going to look at this from a security standpoint and reproduce all of the helpful advice we have accumulated as a leading security company working in the field for decades both in Europe and in the UK.
With a range of measures that cost nothing right through to some high security options like vacant property security screens and static manned guarding, everything you need to know about your empty property security options can be found right here.
There are two main scenarios that arise to explain vacant property:
1. Short-term vacant property
Properties are often left vacant for relatively short periods of time and the security issues they present can be treated differently than when properties are left vacant for longer. They occur when people are taking a holiday or perhaps during the process of moving. Whatever the reason and for however long, it is fair to assume that you are not immune to the prospect of being targetted.
So let’s take a look at the security measures and precautions that can be put in place to secure empty property on a short-term basis:
In this age of social media it is all too easy to inadvertently make it known to criminals that you are leaving your property vacant. You should think carefully about the information you give out on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Publicly discussing the fact that you are about to go on holiday or even posting your holiday snaps while you are away may not be the best choice. Consider using settings to limit these type of posts to friends and family viewing only or even not making them until you return.
Make your property look occupied:
It is relatively easy to make sure that your home looks occupied even when it isn’t. Measures like leaving a vehicle in the drive and using timers to turn lights on and off are very easy and inexpensive ways to make your property appear to be occupied.
Store valuable items:
Many properties have windowless rooms. Perhaps a bathroom, toilet or a utility room. Making sure that this room is locked and secured in a way that would deter entry and then storing valuable electrical items and jewellery in them is once again a security measure with little or no outlay. You might even consider storing your easily transportable valuable items with friends and family while you are away.
Review your window and door locks:
How secure are your window and door locks? If they have not been upgraded to high security, it might be time to get them changed. The more difficult you make it to gain entry into your property the more likely it is that an opportunist thief will give up and move on to an easier target.
Arrange regular property checks:
Arranging for a neighbour or perhaps friends and family to visit on a regular basis is always a good idea. For people leaving a more remote property vacant, a security company like Titan Security can arrange regular visits and checks from a mobile security patrol unit. Activity around your vacant property is an effective deterrent and should the worse happen, a break-in is spotted quickly so that action can be taken to stop your property from being left in a vulnerable state.
Nominate a keyholder:
Making sure that a key is lodged with someone while you are away is a wise move. Once again friends and family are the obvious choice but if your property is remote, there are many security companies out there that operate a keyholder service. Read more about the keyholder service offered by Titan Security.
Install a domestic CCTV and alarm system:
Alarms have moved on at pace and especially since the advent of widely available high speed internet. Alarm systems that utilise the internet are known as Internet Protocol (IP) alarm systems. These range from app-controlled door surveillance and doorbell answering systems through to multi-camera IP CCTV systems.
As simple to install as connecting to a power supply (in many cases solar) and then logging them in to your router, these systems are a lot cheaper than you would imagine. Using a mobile app you can set alerts, audible warnings and video recording as well as monitor your vacant property remotely.
Of course you always have the option of the more traditional alarm system that gives off a loud warning siren and alerts a central monitoring station if tripped. These can be linked to contracts with security companies like ours that constantly monitor them and provide an alarm response service.
Talk to an expert about securing your property with professional alarm monitoring and response services.
Use warning signs:
Anything that becomes a visual deterrent is a useful addition when looking to protect a vacant property. For less than the price of a commercial coffee, you can pick up warning signs that announce your property is alarmed and monitored. This may or may not be true (and we hope that in most cases it is!) but even if not true, a sign is still an effective deterrent.
Remembering that not every thief will be targetting the inside of your property, external lighting is a great deterrent. Keeping your external areas well lit at night will deter people interested in outbuildings like garden sheds or your garage. You have choices. You can elect to go for timer-controlled full illumination, or go down the sensor route where the lights come on when triggered by the sensor and stay on for a few minutes.
The above measures are worth thinking about if you take regular holidays and short breaks but live in the property full time. Now let’s take a look at some robust security measures that can minimise the risk of criminal activity and secure vacant properties in remote locations and those that are left vacant for longer periods.
2. Longer-term empty property security options
Many of our clients with second homes, holiday properties and those with large estates leave properties vacant for much longer periods of time. Sometimes several months or longer. Of course taking the points made above for shorter terms into consideration is always a good idea but there are some extra considerations on how to secure a vacant property for the longer term.
Maintain your plot
There is nothing that advertises to passers by that a property has been left vacant better than grounds that are not being maintained. Letting the grass, borders, and hedges grow long and fill out with weeds is a sure sign that the property is empty. Another giveaway is when during a hot summer, your garden is not getting watered and starts to die off.
If you cannot engage friends, family and neighbours to maintain the grounds for you it might be worth considering taking on the services of a garden maintenance company. A weekly or fortnightly visit will keep things in check and stop the condition of the garden advertising the fact that the property is not being lived in.
Securing the boundaries
A substantial fence, high wall, or thick hedge boundary helps to make life more difficult for the opportunist thief. Not only does it block the view of your property, but the idea that a boundary is difficult to scale means that people are going to think twice about the attempt. Gaining entry to your grounds is one thing, but a difficult boundary can also mean that getting out if spotted is also much more difficult. Most will pass on by and look for an easier target.
Install vacant property security screens
1. Roller Shutter Security Screens
Security screens are designed to add an extra layer of protection to vulnerable doors and windows. There are many types of security screens on the market but the roller shutter style are always popular.
Once installed, the roller shutter is quick and convenient. On arrival at the vacant property for example a 2nd home of a holiday villa, it takes just minutes to roll them up and allow the light to flood in.
The most secure shutters are made of either aluminium or galvanised steel slats and can be operated manually or with an internal motor. Anyone considering breaking in to your property would find it impossible without a selection of fairly heavy-duty tools. The noise alone would be enough of a deterrent and there are always much easier targets to be found.
2. Mesh Security Screens
Mesh security screens provide that extra level of security you need for a vacant property but they are also useful when you are in residence. Made of strong steel mesh inset into a frame, mesh screens let light in and also allow you to leave windows open and yet leave your property secure when you need to pop out for a short time.
Leave services switched on
Many of the more effective vacant property security options require electricity and possibly internet or telephone services to remain connected in order to function. Things like sensor controlled security lighting, intruder alarms and internet protocol based surveillance will not work without power.
Secure empty property with Titan Security services.
Vacant Property Security Solutions
Manned Guarding / Mobile Patrols / Keyholding / Alarm Monitor and Response
Here at Titan Security we offer a full package of services aimed at protecting vacant properties in the UK and across Europe. We are a customer-focused and agile company which means that our professional security services can be tailored and adapted to the specific needs of your property and the budget you have available.
Here are some of the main vacant property security options we offer.
Risk Assessments and Security Planning
Our security experts are available to carry out a security risk assessment on your vacant property. We can advise on deterrents like boundary protection, security surveillance and alarm systems, and recommend physical security adaptions to your building. We can also undertake supply and installation of security upgrades and physical measures as well as provide a number of manned security guarding options.
Book a security assessment to secure your vacant property with professional security services from Titan.
Static Security Guarding
For large estates, luxury houses and holiday homes we can provide static security guards working on rotation to maintain a consistent security presence for round the clock security. Our security officers can man gates and barriers and screen admittance for authorised entry. This is particularly useful if you have trades coming and going at your property when you are not in residence.
Alarm Monitoring and Rapid Response
When a static presence is not an option we can monitor the security of your premises remotely. Your CCTV feeds and alarm systems are monitored from a central location. According to your requirements, we can either alert local law enforcement when an alarm is triggered or commit to sending one of our own mobile rapid response teams to your property.
Regular Mobile Patrols
Titan Security offers a mobile patrol service wherever you are. Our security officers visit your property on a regular basis. We check your boundaries and your property for signs of intruders or a break in. This is a highly visible deterrent but should the worst happen, we can be on hand to ensure that your property is made safe.
Get in Touch with Titan Security
If you need an honest and reliable security company with decades of experience in the security industry, it all starts with a chat. Find out how to secure your empty property. Let us know what you need and we will tell you how we can help. We work out of local offices in towns and cities around Europe and across the UK. Wherever you are, Titan Security is not far away!