Whilst the number of tourists visiting Spain increases considerably during the summer holidays, so does the number of Spanish nationals, and people living in Spain, leaving their homes to take summer holidays of their own. This means that, according to the Spanish police, the summer season, and particularly weekends during the summer season, is prime time for burglars to target empty properties in Spain.
To help you prevent your house from falling victim to one of these crimes, the Spanish National police have released a series of tips and other preventative measures that you can take. They also remind Spanish homeowners that if they see anyone acting suspiciously around their home then they should call 091 and report this behaviour to the police.
Ready to keep your home as safe as possible this summer? Here’s everything you need to know:
Securely Lock Your Door
Whenever you leave your home (whether you’re going on holiday or heading to the supermarket for a loaf of bread) you should ensure that you lock your door properly. Leaving your door on the latch may be more convenient, but it is also an open invitation to thieves. Many burglars in Spain will try to access your home using what is known as the ‘slip method’: this is where a credit card is used to open the door by sliding it between the frame and the latch bolt. But if you have locked your door with a key as well, this entry method will not be successful. For the same reason, you should also ensure that your windows, patio doors, and any other entry points are also securely locked.
Don’t Publicise Your Holiday
Don’t let everyone know you’re going away: you never know when the wrong person might be listening! For this reason, you shouldn’t talk too much about your upcoming trips in public places. You should also avoid sharing that you are away on social media. It is incredibly easy to individuals to find your location using social media, particularly if you have shared any images of your property before, and some criminals specialise in scouring social media for holiday announcements, so that they can locate vacant homes to burglarise whilst you are away.
Ensure Your Home Looks Occupied
It’s often incredibly easy to spot when a property is unoccupied: the still quiet, the blinds that are down all the time, the pile of mail in your mailbox. Unfortunately, criminals are on the look out for these signs too. Luckily, this is easy to fix. You can make your home look lived in, even when you’re away. Automatic systems, such as lights that are time activated, can make it look like there’s someone home. If you have a friend or family member living close by, you could ask them to collect your mail for you so that it doesn’t pile up. And contrary to popular belief, it is often better to leave your blinds or curtains open whilst you’re away, rather than leave them permanently shut.
Be Aware of the Plastic Strip Trick
There is a common trick used by both squatters and burglars that sees a thin strip of glue or plastic placed between the front door and the door frame. This is done so that, if the strip remains intact when they return to the property, they know that it is unoccupied. If you see any glue spots or plastic strips when you return to your property, you are advised to call 091 immediately.
Think Stranger Danger
You should always be aware of who is on your property and why. If you notice anyone acting suspiciously on your property, then call 091: it’s better to be safe than sorry! You shouldn’t open your doors to strangers: if someone knocks on your door that you do not know, you are within your rights to ask them to leave. Remember that letting a stranger into your building or complex could also compromise the safety of your neighbours, so it’s better to turn people away than to make a costly mistake.
You should also keep an eye on your neighbours' properties, particularly if you are aware that they are away on holiday. If you see someone acting suspiciously or hear unusual noises in what you thought was an empty house, call 091 immediately. They will send a National Police patrol to check the situation out.
Don’t Take any Chances
Finally, if you return to your property from a holiday and something looks suspicious, or you suspect that your property has been broken into then call 091 and stay outside. Don’t touch anything, as this could compromise any ongoing investigation. Wait for a patrol car to arrive and allow them to enter your property first.
You might also wish to consider creating a comprehensive list of all the valuables in your home, including any jewellery and electronic items. You will then have this to hand to give to the police investigators, which could make it easier for them to recover your items. If you have any particularly expensive jewellery pieces, artwork, or other valuables then you may wish to consider photographing them, as well as a written list.
Are you thinking of investing in a Spanish property and starting your dream life in Spain? If you’re looking for estate agents in Southern Spain then why not get in touch with Right Casa? Our locally based property experts are a font of local knowledge and are perfectly placed to help you find the home of your dreams.