There are a number of simple precautions that clergy can take in order to protect the security of their homes. For example:
- When the house is to be left empty for more than a day, always tell a reliable neighbour or friend, but only tell those who need to know.
- Cancel all deliveries, milk, newspapers and ask someone to check that the post and free newspapers are not sticking out of the letterbox. Alternatively, ask the post sorting office to hold mail.
- Ask a neighbour or friend to water the garden and indoor plants, mow the lawn and cut the hedge. They might also be asked to park their car occasionally on the drive or in the front of the house and put the bin out on bin day.
- Keep garage doors shut and locked. If the garage has no windows, use curtains or blinds to block prying eyes. No car often means that nobody is home.
- If everyone in the household is to be out until after dark, leave a light on in a room, not the hall. A time switch or light-sensitive fitting is recommended.
- Remember that curtains and blinds drawn in the daytime attract a thief.
- Make sure the doorbell is only audible from the inside - let people assume it is not working rather than not being answered.
- Disconnect telephones that can be heard left ringing (particularly those on window sills). Also, any answerphone messages should always say "We cannot come to the 'phone at present", rather than "We are not here".
- Where possible, check the credentials of unfamiliar callers. Ask for some identification if they claim to be officials - do not be fooled by a uniform. Some organisations use a password to help identify their representatives.
- Ask the local police about security-marking valuables. The police can provide stickers for windows advertising that this has been done.
Avoid tell-tale signs on going away