Christmas home safety
The festive season is upon us and many will be looking forward to a well-deserved break. It's the perfect time to take a road trip, visit family or just relax in the warm summer sun.
With some homes unoccupied over the holiday period, thieves can view this as the perfect time to break in and steal valuable items.
To give yourself the best chance of a worry-free holiday, take a few simple security steps before you leave your home:
Think smart about social media
It’s great to share our travel experiences with our friends online, but thieves can use this information to target your home.
Err on the side of caution and share all of your beautiful memories on your return.
Keep the garden tidy
An unkempt garden with long grass and overgrown shrubbery isn’t just a mecca for snakes - it can also give thieves great cover while carrying out illegal activities.
A few days before you leave, make sure the lawn is mown and shrubs are trimmed.
Consider a house sitter
A paid sitter, trusted friend, relative or neighbour keeping an eye on your home while you’re away is a good idea. They can also collect your mail and any free newspapers that end up on your driveway so they don’t stack up and give the game away.
Lock up the garden shed
Chances are you may have tools in there that a thief could use to smash through one of your windows. Besides, there’s nothing worse than coming home to find all your best equipment has been stolen.
Secure doors and windows
Make sure your windows and screen doors have good locks. Consider fitting security screens where possible and install a deadbolt on your back door so it can be locked from the inside.
If you have sliding windows or doors, put a wooden or metal road in the tracks so they can’t be slid open even if the lock is compromised.
Secure your garage
Some garages can be opened with a universal remote. If you have an automatic garage door, consider turning off its power supply to be on the safe side.
Consider smart home technology
Security systems have come a long way in recent years with the introduction of smart home technology. You can even access some surveillance cameras with your smartphone and have alerts sent to you if your alarm has been triggered.
Even basic alarm systems that emit a loud noise are often enough to scare a potential thief away.
You can also use this technology to turn lights on and off at different times of the day and in different rooms via a smartphone app to make it look like someone is home.
Don’t hide a spare key
Thieves know every hiding place in the book. Unless you’re leaving a spare key with a trusted friend, neighbour or relative, take it with you.
Unplug your appliances
This will protect your electronics from any power surges that might happen while you’re away. It could also reduce your energy bill.
While being security conscious can make a big difference, the worst can still happen.
Maintaining a home and contents insurance policy can ease the worry of the financial burden of a theft or break in. Make sure all of your details are current and that you have sufficient cover in place.