10 Key Tips For Securing Your Vacant Property

The likelihood is that, at some point, we’ll all leave our property vacant for an extended period of time. That could be something as simple as taking a well-earned holiday in the sun over summer, or leaving your offices or premises unoccupied over Christmas and New Year. Situations like these are simply unavoidable.

However, while these are common recurrences across the year for many of us, they also present a window of opportunity for thieves, trespassers and other criminals who might seek to invade the privacy you’ve fought so hard to maintain. That’s especially concerning for businesses with confidential files, expensive equipment and restricted areas all forming part of their site.

There are solutions that you can put into place, though. At Churchill Support Services, we’ve long been dedicated to securing vacant properties, whether that’s smaller and more independent businesses, or large-scale projects with multiple different areas of consideration.

That’s why we’ve compiled an expert selection of ten crucial tips for securing your property effectively and efficiently, all honed and perfected over the course of our 27 years in the security sector. We’ll also explore how you can harness a bespoke, vacant property security solution to provide complete peace of mind.


#1 – Security Guarding Provides Ultimate Vacant Property Safeguarding

Arguably one of the most robust and effective solutions when it comes to guaranteeing the safety and security of a site is opting for vacant property security officers. These expertly trained security professionals can offer a full suite of services.

The core duties of any security presence at a vacant property include:

  • Monitoring the effectiveness and integrity of any external perimeters
  • Dealing with any trespassers swiftly and professionally
  • Admitting authorised guests and personnel
  • Keeping detailed and comprehensive logs of any incidents or occurrences
  • Liaising with emergency services in the event of an issue arising
  • Providing a point of contact between your site and external monitoring facilities

Not only will these responsibilities all fall under the jurisdiction of your vacant property security guards, but just their presence will provide a visual deterrent to any opportunistic thieves or trespassers.

It’s been seen time and time again that more visual security measures, and specifically security guards, are arguably the most effective way to ensure the safety of your premises. In fact, this is something scientific research supports, with security guards being a proven crime reduction method across a range of different environments, inclusive of vacant property.

Ultimately, security officers that are positioned at strategic points across your vacant property or site offer one of the most robust solutions when it comes to safeguarding your property, your assets and your investments.


#2 – Consider A CCTV Solution For Your Vacant Property

Another of the mainstays across the security, and one that’s seen a considerable evolution since its inception, CCTV offers a comprehensive solution to the concerns you might have when it comes to your vacant premises.

Now offering a far more high-tech and sophisticated solution than its grainy and often blurry predecessors, a modern CCTV package encompasses a huge range of tools with which to ensure the safety of your vacant property.

By opting to use a trusted and well-established provider like Churchill Support Services for your vacant property CCTV monitoring, you’ll be permanently connected to our round-the-clock Communications Centre, who are fully in control should the worst happen.

Plus, with our commitment to the very latest in technology, we’ll be able to react at the first sign of a disturbance or intrusion, and deploy support accordingly. This can take the form of a registered and expertly-trained security professional, or, in extreme cases, an immediate referral to the emergency services.


#3 –  Mobile Vacant Property Patrols Are Essential

Often seen as an extension of more traditional static security guarding, mobile patrols go far beyond just a bolt-on for a more conventional security guarding solution. In fact, they’re often a strong supplement to the existing security presence you might already have on site

Usually equipped with a vehicle for larger or more sprawling premises, mobile security patrols will undertake routine walk-rounds of your premises, ensuring the integrity and completeness of any measures you have in place, such as fencing or barriers to entry.

They’ll also be able to investigate any breakages (especially important if your vacant property has a lot of windows, doors, or breakable walls), and report these using a thorough system that prioritises keeping you in the loop.

This offers a more all-encompassing peace of mind, especially if there’s areas of concern at multiple, specific entry points, or if you’ve had concerns in the past for trespassers gaining access at a specific point.

While it’s easy to assume that these are only necessary for much bigger vacant properties (construction sites or disused buildings, for instance), they’re also equally valuable for smaller properties. That extends to office buildings and commercial sites, especially over periods of extended closure like renovations or holidays.


#4 – Choose Key Holding & Alarm Response For Your Vacant Property

Perhaps self-explanatory, opting for a key holding service will mean that a copy of your property’s keys are kept in a secure, undisclosed location off-site. These not only ensure that you’ve always got access to your premises as and when you need it, but it also ensures that these can be used in the event of an emergency.

This extends to include any disturbances or break-ins, as well as the first sign of trespassing. The expertly trained personnel at Churchill Support Services can proactively use your keys to ensure that your property is always safe.

We’re able to deploy expertly trained operatives at a moment’s notice, with an average response time of just 30 minutes across the UK. This ensures that not only are all alerts responded to in a timely manner, but that you’ll always have experts on standby should the worst happen.

It’s an integral part of the key holding and alarm response package we’re able to offer for vacant property security. You can rest easy in the knowledge that, regardless of when an intrusion happens, our masterfully trained operatives can provide a swift and effective response.

You’ll also be able to couple this key holding service with a lock and unlock package which, should your site become occupied again, will mean that none of your staff will need to shoulder the responsibility of opening the property each morning, or securing the property again in the evening.


#5 – Install Stronger Perimeter Security Measures

The perimeter of your site is arguably one of the most important when it comes to security. It offers the first line of defence against any unwanted visitors, and without effective measures in place, you run the risk of criminals exploiting any vulnerabilities.

With Churchill Support Services, you’ll have access to our bespoke solutions for fencing, barriers, and boarding, all alongside the high-wattage security lighting you’d expect to complement those perimeter solutions.

A good perimeter is an absolute necessity, and by opting to strengthen your existing defences or install entirely new preventative measures, you’ll be in a much better position to deter criminals at that first hurdle, and protect your property far before anything can occur.

Not only does a stronger perimeter act as a repellent to any potential trespassing, but it conveys the right impression to any passers-by and possible purchasers. It’s a crucial consideration if you’re planning to sell your assets on, or you’re looking to use it as a site of a possible development such as housing or public services.


#6 – Implement An Access Control System

An intelligent addition to any vacant property or premises, installing an access control system allows you to better monitor the flow of guests and attendees, as well as receive an immediate alert of any unauthorised access attempts.

Most recognisable as barriers and bollards, controlling access to your unoccupied property can take multiple forms, all of which can massively assist in limiting the amount of unauthorised traffic that enters your traffic. That’s especially true of sturdy bollards, which can be raised and lowered with sophisticated systems.

Barriers, too, have their place on a vacant premises. These are strongly advised when you’ll require vehicular access to the site, as they can be raised and lowered as and when that’s necessary.

These are ideally positioned at the entrance to your vacant property, or at any other regularly-used access points for your site, such as side entrances or access areas for any necessary vehicles or site traffic (essential if you’re planning to renovate the property).

Access control also conveys the right message to any possible investors. If you’re taking the time to invest so thoughtfully in your vacant property security, it’s clear that you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and what the premises means to you.

Plus, you’re protecting what could potentially prove to be a lucrative asset for the future, and preserving the time, money and effort you’ve taken the time to invest in.


#7 – Employ A Robust Fire Safety Initiative

An absolutely essential part of securing any property actually encompasses one of the most common hazards for any property – fire. Having a complete fire safety plan in place is vital, and offers an additional layer of security for your vacant property outside of protecting it from trespassers.

There’s also a legal obligation of any property owner or proprietor to have a fire safety plan in place, regardless of whether or not the property is occupied on a regular basis. According to the latest governmental guidelines, this extends to:

  • Carrying out and regularly reviewing a fire risk assessment
  • Implementing and maintaining fire safety measures
  • Actively mitigating fire risks where possible
  • Planning for any possible emergencies
  • Providing fire safety information, including evacuation routes, to any site visitors

Of course, this can be a huge amount to consider for any vacant property owner, but there are ways to deal with that additional pressure. With complete fire watch services from Churchill Support Services, you can rest assured that all of the plans we put into place together are expertly curated and designed with your property in mind.

Vacant properties are perhaps even more in need of this than others in a similar vein, especially as the threat of trespassers and vandals brings with it the risk of arson and deliberate fire starting. Coupling a comprehensive fire safety plan with vacant property security is absolutely essential, and provides the reassurance you need to rest easy.


#8 – Canine Patrols Can Offer Extra Protection

While canine operatives may seem a daunting prospect at first, they’ve been proven to add an additional level of safety to any robust vacant property security solution. They’re one of the largest deterrents in the security market, and provide a supportive and effective presence alongside their expertly trained handlers.

Canine patrols offer additional sensitivity to the disturbances and noises that can be the early warning signs of an intruder or trespasser. That extends to scent, too – you’ll doubtless have heard that dogs can lock onto a scent in order to identify someone, and that’s used to expert effect by canine security handlers and their faithful companions.

Of course, those heightened senses also mean that detection of other materials is possible, especially when using a well-established provider like Churchill Support Services. We’re able to provide dogs and handlers who’ve got expertise in finding:

  • Drugs and narcotics, including illegal tobacco
  • Any pyrotechnics, such as fireworks or flammable materials
  • Explosives, IEDs, or the manufacturing facilities needed for these

Naturally, canine patrols work harmoniously alongside other security presences, particularly a strong and large-scale CCTV system, and can offer that additional degree of protection and security for your vacant property.


#9 – Conduct Regular Maintenance Checks

While it’s absolutely fine to leave your property while you’re on holiday or otherwise occupied, there can be issues that arise in that scenario if your premises are left for a longer period of time, or during times of inclement weather.

These concerns span from those that could worsen if left (like damp, mildew or mould), to more serious issues, such as leaking plumbing, loose flooring, or ingress from invasive plants or weeds. There’s also more site-specific concerns, such as dampened construction materials or chemical spillages.

While consummate providers like Churchill Support Services are more than happy to continue securing your property with limited input from yourself, we’d always recommend visiting to ensure that your site is kept in the condition you’d like to see it in.

This can also allow you opportunity to provide any input you feel would be beneficial, and address any concerns or queries you might have.


#10 – Triple Check Your Locks

It ought to go without saying that, any time you plan to leave your property vacant, you should ensure that all of your doors, windows, and access points are locked and secured. It may seem basic, but it’s actually something many people neglect.

According to the latest statistics, 34% of all burglaries happen with criminals gaining access through an unsecured front door, with more still finding entry through an unlocked or open window. It’s a sad reality that this is how the bulk of breaking and entering happens, and without careful attention, you could find yourself becoming part of that statistic.

Our advice would always be to ensure that every potential way of entering your property (be that doors, windows, skylights, cellar access or otherwise) is completely locked and inaccessible to the outside.

This is all mitigated by opting to employ an exceptional security company, who’ll provide this level of security as standard, alongside a full suite of other services.


Choosing Churchill For Your Vacant Property Security

By opting to secure your vacant property with Churchill Support Services, you’ll have access to our unparalleled level of support, passion and dedication to every contract we undertake. Plus, our unique approach to security means you’ll receive a completely tailormade and bespoke service that’s built with your property in mind.

We’ll build a security solution for your unoccupied premises from the ground up, taking into account the size and scope of your property, any external circumstances, and the budget you’ve assigned yourself for the project.

This can range from a simple yet regular patrol of your property by one of our expertly trained, SIA-licenced professionals, to a full complement of canine handlers, security officers and a suite of CCTV cameras.

Ultimately, this is something we’ll take great care in discussing with you, and we’ll come to a conclusion and a solution that matches with everything you’re looking for from your security package.

Get in touch with our knowledgeable in-house team, and we’d be more than happy to provide you with a free, no obligation, as well as discuss your vacant property security needs at length to determine what’s right for you.

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.