Protecting my empty home in France
How can I deter burglars from an empty second home? It is isolated, so an alarm isn’t enough. J.C.
Try speaking to the police municipale and gendarmerie. A free service, Opération Tranquillité Vacances, sees officers include homes as part of patrols.
It is for main homes whose owners are away but some forces will include second homes.
Ensure you have strong locks and doors: ideally a robust lock with three bolts or more and a reinforced door. Look out for A2P star certification for armoured doors – three stars means it can resist break-in efforts for at least 15 minutes.
Doors should be equipped with reinforced corner pieces that resist attempts to crow-bar them and, ideally, have no external handle and no part of the lock sticking above the surface to get hold of with pliers.
Ground floor windows can be equipped with bars.
Shutters or blinds also make windows more secure. Do not leave keys under a mat or flowerpot and install a safe if you have items of high value.
You can install lights set on a timer or internet-connected switches or bulbsfor lamps or a television.
Cameras that you can monitor from a distance are one of the most effective deterrents if they are visible to would-be thieves.
There are private security firms that can install camera and alarm systems and monitor them for you – for a fee.
If you have a garden, invest in a tough fence or thick hedge and a lockable gate. Do not leave any ladders or tools on show, and if you have a shed containing such items, this too should have a strong locked door.
It is worth asking the advice of your insurer. It might also improve your premiums if you update them about any extra security measures you have installed.
We have a dedicated helpguide on owing a Second Home in France. Order at the helpguide section of connexionfrance.com