The Christmas and New Year holidays are special, not just because of the gift-giving, seemingly endless parties, and family get-togethers, but because it is also the time to take a much needed break from daily life. In short, it is the perfect time to take off somewhere for pleasure and relaxation.
But before talking off for that exciting holiday, there is the matter of the house you would leave behind for a few days or maybe weeks. While people are busy planning for their Christmas and New Year celebrations, burglars are also busy staking out the houses they could break into. There is cause to be wary as statistics show a spike in burglaries during this time of the year.
Your house is vulnerable to home invasion during the Christmas season and New Year because burglars know that homeowners are more likely on holiday. But there are measures to keep your home safe.
Weeks before your scheduled departure, conduct a security audit around your house to identify any weaknesses in your home security. Check whether the locks on the doors, windows and gate, as well as the exterior lighting, are in good working order. This is also the time to secure all valuables you have outdoors.
Here are a few more preventive measures you can implement to prevent your home from being broken in while you’re away on holiday.
1. Lock up
The first order of business is to make sure all entry points to your home are secured properly. Lock all entry points and fasten the locks properly.
In the rush of last minute organisation, locking up oftentimes become an afterthought. To ensure that you don’t accidentally leave your doors or windows ajar, lock everything up the night before you leave.
2. Lights up
An obvious sign that your house is unoccupied is when it’s dark even at night. Burglars take note of properties like this.
Investing in even just the basic security devices such as motion security lights and timed lights will go a long way towards protecting your home against home invasion. The motion detection lights will spot anything that moves around your property. Lights that turn on and off sporadically will fool people looking outside that someone is at home.
3. Make it appear that someone is home
Aside from the time lights which turn on at night, there are other things you can do to make your home look occupied:
Park your car in the driveway.
Don’t let newspapers, mail or flyers accumulate on your property by asking a neighbour to collect them for you.
Don’t send packages to your home when you’re not there. Uncollected packages on the doorsteps are a sign that the owners are not there to accept them.
Ask a friend to come to your house to open and close the blinds or curtains during the daytime.
A home that looks to be vacant or unoccupied will be more attractive for possible burglary. Thieves know the signs that the owner is not home. Eliminate those signs to keep the burglars’ eyes away from your property.
4. Take a social media break
People in the digital age are documenting their every move by posting statuses complete with photos to their social media accounts. The savvier burglars are not only spying on your house, they are also stalking you on social media. Remember this before you share on Facebook that you’re taking a two-week trip. You’re not only sharing this information to friends and family, you’re practically sharing it to the whole world.
The same goes with sharing photos of your house and your possessions. Burglars take note of what items are valuable to steal and when your home will be left unattended.
It’s difficult to go offline even when it’s just for a short time. If you can’t make yourself go silent online, at least take the time to adjust the privacy settings of your social media accounts to block people you don’t know from seeing your updates.
5. Start to get smart
Landlords, under the Residential Tenancies Act, are responsible for supplying the locks and making sure doors and windows are intact and very secure. But you may want to consider a few home security technologies for your investment property. Doing this will give the the peace of mind that comes from knowing your investment is safe and secure.
There are endless options, including a smart doorbell, which senses motion and gives a view of your front door from your smartphone; smart security lights, which deliver real-time push alerts to your phone if someone is skulking outside your home; and smart light bulbs, which you can turn on with a swipe of a finger or you can operate remotely.
6. Be wary of door to door salespeople and telemarketers
You can’t really be sure that these people are legit. It is possible that they are checking out your home and looking at items that are worth stealing. Their simple question of: “When would be a convenient time for you to talk?” could be their way of trying to find out when you’d be out of the house. Be cautious and don’t be free in giving away personal information.
Christmas and the New Year holidays are busy and festive times. Sadly, thieves are hard at work trying to spoil the fun by burglarising homes. You can outsmart these bad elements by being proactive and being practical about your home security by following the tips provided above.