Why your neighbour is the best deterrent against break-ins while you're away

Want to improve your home security this summer? The perfect solution could be right next door...

Greg Toon advises on what are the dos and don’ts of a successful renovation
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Holiday season is officially here, and along with the usual worries of how you’re going to cram everything into your suitcase and whether you’ve remembered to sort the travel insurance, there’s also the concern over how secure your home is going to be while you’re away.

The simple solution to your holiday quandary could be closer than you might think, however, with new research showing that one fifth of us will ask our neighbours to check our homes whilst on an extended break, rather than asking friends and relatives to help out.

Whether your neighbours are popping round to water the garden and check the house every couple of days, going into the house to move the ever-increasing pile of post from the hallway floor, or just keeping a close eye on the property, knowing that someone close by is looking after your home means you can relax and enjoy your time away.

The study, conducted by home interior specialists Hillarys, found that two thirds of respondents speak to their neighbours ‘regularly’, and two fifths know their immediate neighbours’ names. This is a contrast to a previous 2016 study, which found one in three of us couldn’t name any of our neighbours.

What are we talking about to the people that live closest to us? Issues with our neighbourhoods topped the list of topics (78 per cent), followed by the weather (55 per cent) – no doubt whether our gardens will last the heatwave – and plans for the day (49 per cent).

This rising spirit of cooperation fascinates and heartens us – especially in view of the news we reported this week that communities in the United States are coming together via the Neighborhood app to report crime recorded on homeowners' Ring video doorbells to help local police catch criminals. 

‘With so much negative news, it is great to see a sense of togetherness through neighbourly communities,’ says Lucy Askew, spokesperson for Hillarys. ‘It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and making friends with neighbours can lead to a lovely tightknit friendship group close to home.'

We agree, whether home surveillance when you're away is carried out by neighbours popping round or high tech reporting via an app, it seems neighbourliness is not dead.

And if you're heading off on holiday soon? Make the effort to get to know the couple on the other side of the fence before you go... your home security will thank you for it. 

Beth Murton
Beth first started working on Real Homes as a sub-editor over 15 years ago. Since then she has worked on 4Homes, Grand Designs and as a freelancer, before returning to Real Homes for the third time. She is Acting Editor on the magazine and always has a makeover project of some kind on the go.