On my last article we were looking at the different ways of protecting your property not only your holiday home but also your home back in UK while on vacation.
We analysed the different locks, door and windows available in the market.
Also the precautionary measures to be adopted if you have to leave the property even for a few hours and also the importance of making a detailed list of valuable possessions writing down the serial numbers of electronic devices and inscriptions in the case of jewellery or a close up picture which could also be of help to the police. The other important preventive measure was not to disclose your absence back home in the UK. I meant those messages left in Facebook etc such as “I leaving for Spain on the 1st of August and shall be back on the …….
Here in Spain you should….
If it is your own property secure windows and doors with steel bars if possible. Unlike locks busting, which usually are carried out by foreign burglars, those thieves who access apartments by climbing the facades and slipping through a window or balcony, are typically Spanish and normally they are well known by the local police. These specialist climbers act mainly during summer months mostly because that is when the windows and balconies are usually left open at night. It is essential to protect these possible entries with steel bars, especially if the apartments are situated on lower floors and sometimes not so low…. These people can climb up a rain pipe two, three floors or more in question of a minute. This type of theft are often committed when people are usually sleeping inside the house, so it is in the early hours of the morning. They are not violent offenders and, as a rule, if someone wakes up and surprises them, they go out through the same way they came in. Still, this type of theft is an enormous invasion of our privacy, with the consequent social alarm generated.
Do not leave signs indicating your absence.
Equally, it is best not to disclose your absence. Do not leave obvious signs that your house is uninhabited. Do not disconnect the doorbell or electric current, as criminals check previously if there is anyone in the house by pressing the buzzer.
If possible you should ask a trusted friend or a family member to pick up the mail from the mailbox. Let this person your current address and contact phone while abroad, and preferably leave them with a set of keys. Of course, do not even think to leave the keys in the mailbox, under a pot or under the doormats, those are usually the first places burglars look.
Call the police, they are there to help.
If you see someone acting suspiciously by the entrance hall or loitering in the street in a distrustful manner, notify the police. Especially if you arrive home and see the front door opened or see a broken window etc, call immediately the 091 (the Spanish emergency number). Do not touch anything inside the house because it can contaminate the scene of the robbery and destroy evidence that may be valuable in the police investigation.
Do not open the door to strangers.
This advice concerns especially the older and young people at home.
If they are alone at home, they should not facilitate entry to any unknown person. Please note that the door chain locks cannot stop anyone who is determined to brake in. The police advice is that the door should be totally closed until the person concerned is fully identified. If they cannot be identified don’t hesitate to tell them to come back later.
Beware of gas and electricity inspectors.
They should not be there if you have not asked for an inspection visit or you have not received a previous letter from the gas company informing you of such visit. And even so they should be identified with their own ID and if you want to be even surer insist in seeing their Spanish ID (DNI) and jot down their name and DNI number. Do not accept services that have not been previously requested or notified from the company that you have contracted the supply.
If in any doubt do call the company before opening the door, and confirm that they have sent an inspector.
People who often fall into these scams or theft are mostly elderly. Many of them refuse to denounce it to the police, either because they are ashamed for having fallen into the scam or because they don’t want to be reprimanded by their family.