Are second homes in France more at risk of 'home-jacking'?

Home invasions are on the rise nationally

Home-jacking is on the rise in France, but careful owners can reduce the chance being targeted
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Reader Question: We have a second home in France and we have heard that home-jacking is on the rise. Are we more likely to be victims because we are not in France often?

‘Home-jacking’ (or home invasion) is a phenomenon that is being seen more and more in France, including a spate of high profile cases involving celebrities.

Read more: Rise in ‘home-jackings’ in France: culprits trick way into houses

However, unlike a traditional burglary, it does not simply involve breaking and entering, but entering the house when people are present and making threats to get homeowners to hand over valuables.

This has included people posing as delivery workers, tradespeople, or even as a neighbour, to gain access to a home.

Thieves usually target people who are perceived to have a lot of wealth due to their lifestyle, or because they post information about their lives on social media (including photos of the inside of their home).

They also often operate in semi-rural areas, going door-to-door, as it can often only take a few minutes to invade a home.

Are second-homes more at risk?

As by definition home-jacking relates to attacks on homes when the owners are present there is no greater risk linked to the fact of being away on a regular basis.

On the contrary, home-jackers are likely to avoid attempting to target homes that seem empty.

The same general tips for keeping your property safe apply both to main and second homes.

The risk of a ‘traditional’ burglary, however, is another matter, and there may be increased risks of that where homes lie empty for a long time.

If you are on good terms with your neighbours you can ask them to keep an eye out on your property, regularly collect your mail, sweep leaves in your front garden, etc, so it does not look like your home is empty for a long time.

When you do come back from a period away, it is best to make your arrival unobtrusive and low-key.

The police can also check in on unoccupied second homes during their rounds, if you ask them to.

Read more: Did you know French police can check on your home while you are away?

Improving your home security system can also be beneficial. You can, for example, use video doorbells to check on people at your home.

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SEE: 2023 police crime figures for France