As the congested highways and busy airports around Australia will prove later this month, the Christmas – New Year period is a time when many of us decide to travel away for an annual holiday.
But there is more involved in preparing for that annual trip than simply packing enough beach towels or finding minders for the family cat.
Burglars are opportunistic in their activity; during Christmas, they are on the prowl. Here are some tips to better protect your home during the holiday season.
Check and secure all locks & look like you’re at home
If you have faulty locks on any doors or windows or other entry points, replace them before you head off on your travels. When leaving, double check that all the locks are secured, and have another family member check as well.
Lock the back and side gates, activate your security system and bring the spare key that you have hidden outside, back indoors.
Mow your lawn just before leaving, lock the garage and shed, and keep the second car, if you have one, in the driveway.
Make your home look occupied
Thieves are drawn to dark spaces to hide their activity. Consider installing outside motion detector sensor lights to come on if anyone walks up your path or near windows. Add timer switches to some of your internal lights so they come on automatically for a period of time each night. Adding one to the TV is also a good idea as the noise makes it sound like someone is home.
Monitor your home from your holiday
Modern IP monitored security systems allow homeowners to arm and disarm their alarm system remotely, receive instant notification of security breaches, manage and automate home appliances and visually check in your home. This is a smart (but expensive) way to enhance your home security but may be worth considering.
Cancel the post and deliveries
Having Christmas cards spilling out of the mailbox is an obvious sign no one is home. Think about redirecting or getting a hold put on your mail. And cancel newspaper deliveries, or ask your next door neighbour to take the newspaper off the front lawn.
Carefully discard Christmas packaging
Whilst you may be excited about the new large screen television sitting under the tree, and just as excited to get the bulky packaging it came in out of the house. But displaying the cardboard box it came in, complete with its make and style on the front kerb next to the garbage bin is bait for thieves. The better idea is to rip up the cardboard box into various pieces and place in a black plastic bag before the next garbage collection.
Don’t be too social
While the holidays are a time for us all to enjoy each other’s company, be circumspect in how you share your adventures.
Displaying Instagram photos from New York or checking in to your Facebook account from Fiji lets everyone know you’re not home. Don’t rely on privacy settings on social media to protect your home. Wait until you’ve returned home, then share your holiday snaps.
Talk to your trusted neighbours
Letting your neighbours know you will be away during the holidays and that they can contact you if anything was to happen to your property is a good idea. If you have a good relationship with them, ask them to keep an eye on your place, bring in your garbage bins after you’ve left and collect the mail.
Check your insurance
Before you head off on holidays it’s worth making sure your home and contents insurance is up to date and paid. It would be horrendous if you were robbed to find out you hadn’t paid your latest instalment.
Secure levels up high
First floor entry points are often easier to access for criminals and they know this. Toeholds such as external air conditioners and window grills can help robbers gain access to upper levels. So make sure all the windows and doors are locked securely.
Highrise apartments are not always safe either. While you may think you live 10 stories up, you are really only one storey above the balcony below yours. So don’t get complacent, lock your apartment up securely – it’s better to be safe than sorry.