Your home is your special place where you feel comfortable and safe. Home is where you escape from the world and relax after a stressful day of work. There is no greater violation than when your home is invaded by burglars and your possessions are stolen.
Credit: @hdoan via Twenty20
Making sure your home and your belongings are safe and sound is important, and can be done without too much effort or expense. It’s also worth making sure that your home and contents are protected with the right amount of insurance.
Analyse your parameters
Start with the boundaries of your home, and walk the parameter to check for weak spots which thieves could make use of. Burglars like properties are hidden from the street, with plenty of places to hide and an easy escape route. Your job is to make life difficult for them.
Keep shrubs and trees and hedges trimmed so there’s no place for someone to hide, especially near doors and windows. Look for blind spots and dark corners and install motion sensor lights. Also, keep your front and backyard clean and free of toys, debris from trees, and put away any gardening equipment, ladders and tools that may have been in use so that burglars cannot use them to break into your home. If you have a tool shed, keep it locked so that burglars cannot access tools.
Don’t advertise your absence
Going away on a holiday is exciting, and these days we have a tendency to share our every movement on social media. As socially acceptable (or encouraged) as that might be, it is not a good idea in terms of security. Don’t advertise your absence from home, as it gives burglars an opportunity to plan and execute a break in. Ensure there are no visible signs that the house is unoccupied. Either have a reliable friend or relative stay over in your absence, or else request one of your neighbours to check in on the house, bring in the newspaper, any mail, keep the lawns moved and keep the house looking lived-in.
Also, rather than leaving lights on 24/7, or none at all for an extended period of time – since both are dead giveaways that no one is home, set a couple of lights (one indoors and one outdoors is a good start) on timers.
Alarm and reinforce your home
If you don’t already have a home security system or alarm in place, investing in one before you head off on a long holiday is a good idea. They come in a range of options and prices to suit every budget.
In addition, secure sliding glass doors, the patio and yard facing doors as well as your garage doors, with additional locks and simple alarms. Consider getting shatterproof windows the next time you are upgrading your home, to further deter burglars. Install window stays and locks so you can leave your windows open for fresh air but still be secure. Window locks ensure that your window can only open a few inches, which means a burglar won’t be able to get in.
Keep curtains and blinds in their usual position
Are you the curtains closed or blinds raised kind of person? Whichever you prefer, open or closed, maintain that same pattern when you are away from home too. A sudden change where the curtains are suddenly open for days on end, or the blinds firmly down for the same when the usual is the opposite, may draw attention from burglars who may realize the home is empty and plan to rob it.
Don’t leave spare keys accessible
If you are having someone check in on the house in your absence, please hand them a key – do not tell them to just reach for the spare in its “usual” spot. Because for the rest of the time when they are not there checking in, you have basically issued an invitation to burglars to walk in using that key! So, before heading off on holiday, retrieve your spare key from its hiding spot.
Getting the locks on the front door and any other entry and exit points is a good idea when you move into a previously owned or occupied home, where you have no way of knowing if someone has made copies of the keys. Also, if you ever lose, misplace, or think a key has been copied, definitely change the locks, stat! Getting new locks put on the doors is not an expensive process, and if you are a DIY person with the necessary knowledge and skill to do so, you will only spend on materials.
Also take precautions- when taking your car in for service, remove your car key from the bunch, never hand over your house key too.
Avoid having your privacy invaded and having to make an insurance claim on your return from holiday. A few simple fixes means that your house will be much less attractive to potential thieves.