With the festive season approaching, and many of Australians preparing to head away for a week or two, it’s time to brush up on the best way to secure your home. Because, unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year is also the busiest when it comes to burglaries and home invasions!
From having your alarm system serviced to enlisting your neighbours, there are numerous ways you can secure your home for the holidays. Read on to make sure you’re security-smart, and reduce the risk of opportunistic burglars ruining your Christmas.
Keys & Locks
- To make it difficult for offenders to gain entry to and exit from your home, install key operated locks on all doors and windows.
- Give your spare key to a trusted friend, neighbour or family member. DO NOT leave keys under pot plants, doormats, in the letterbox or in other obvious places.
- As many intruders gain access through an unlocked window or door, make sure you lock up every access point before you go away.
- Remove any keys left in internal doors and windows.
- Install a professionally monitored home security alarm system!
- Make sure existing alarms are functioning well. If yours are experiencing issues or you’re due for your annual home alarm servicing, book a service visit before you head away.
- Advertise the fact you have an alarm system with signage or stickers from your security provider. Place these in a conspicuous place.
- Faulty alarm that goes off regularly? Get it fixed before you head off on holidays and alert your neighbours that it’s now working. That way, they won’t just think it’s another false alarm and ignore it.
- Let your security monitoring company know you’re going away.
- Ensure all batteries on motion sensors/ lights/ security devices are in good working order. This includes making sure your alarm control panel’s backup battery will keep your alarm working during any power outages.
Making Your Home Appear Occupied
- Have someone drop by every few days to water the garden, collect mail and unexpected deliveries, put out and bring in the bins, or feed your goldfish. If a potential burglar is staking the joint, this activity may deter them.
- Place your newspaper delivery on hold. If you’re going for an extended period, hold your mail as well.
- If you’ll be away a while, keep up your regular lawn mowing and garden maintenance service. The more activity at your home, the better.
- Consider hiring a house sitter. Or use a company like Petcloud to find a pet and house sitter in one.
- Make your home seem occupied by leaving a light on and the radio playing. You can buy a timer for this purpose.
- Outdoor sensor lights are cheap, easy to install and can be programmed to turn on and off at regular times each day.
- If you can, leave a car in the driveaway. Give you keys to your neighbour so they can move it into the garage if there’s a storm.
- Turn the volume on your landline right down so it’s not obvious no one’s around.
- Notes on the door are another giveaway – so don’t leave any.
Securing Your Possessions
- Make sure your Contents Insurance policy is paid up.
- To make a burglar less likely to want your property, engrave or MicroDOT your valuables.
- Keep your valuables, keys and cash out of sight.
- Consider installing a safe for any valuables you intend to leave behind.
Joining Forces With Your Neighbours
- Getting to know your neighbours isn’t just a nice thing to do. It can be very useful to ensure your street is secure. Exchange contact details and offer to keep an eye on each other’s homes. Eagle-eyed neighbours can report suspicious cars and individuals to police and help prevent crime from occurring.
- Join your local Neighbourhood Watch.
Exercising Caution With Strangers
- Before you hire any seasonal help around the home, check references thoroughly.
- Be wary of unexpected strangers (e.g. workmen) wanting access to your home.
- Exercise restraint with social media. If you’re the kind of person who posts countless holiday selfies, consider updating your privacy settings before you depart.
If You’ve Been Broken Into…
If you return from holidays to find your home broken into, call 000 straight away. While you wait for police, do not touch anything. Leave your property exactly as you found it so you won’t accidentally destroy evidence.
Let our control room know you are going away! Call 1300 367 233, select Option One and advise dates and your backup person’s details for phone calls if your alarm activates while you are away.