The holiday craze is almost upon us and yes, it’s been a heck of a year so we’re sure your brain just wants to switch off already! Your ‘to do list’ is growing as you prepare for your holiday and the going away plans. Amid the excitement of planning a holiday, it can be easy to overlook the issue of home security. However, nothing ruins the memories of a good holiday quite like returning home to discover you’ve been burgled. It’s worth taking the time to ensure your property will be protected in your absence.
Avoid making these mistakes before you leave on holiday. Remember, criminals are ‘shopping’ too.
Nothing says, ‘I’m an empty house, break in and help yourself’ like a pile of letters visibly building up in your post box or at your gate. If you do not have a house sitter arranged, consider giving a trusted neighbour a spare key so that they can pick up the mail every couple of days.
2. The Wheelie bin
Another obvious sign is the big municipal bin that often stays on the street curb when people are not home. This is a clear sign that you are away along with the fact that your bin will be empty every week. As a start, try to keep your dustbin locked inside your property gates and remember to instruct your house sitter to take out the garbage and wheel the bin back in if you have a house sitter arranged. If you do not have a house sitter, rather keep your bin locked inside your property. Another great idea is to loan your bin to the neighbour until you get back if they are home over the holidays; they would certainly appreciate the additional bin space.
3. Closed or Open?
Drawn curtains or blinds during the day scream that a home is unoccupied, making it obvious that your property is empty. Safeguard your home and reduce the risk of unwanted visitors by ensuring your curtains and blinds are open when you leave and that lights are turned off.
4. Busted by the lawn
There are a number of tell-tale signs in your garden that can make it more obvious that you are away on holiday. Mowing your front garden and watering plants before you go will give the impression of a well-maintained frontage and therefore give the impression that you are at home.
Make sure that every single appliance except for your faithful fridge/freezer is turned off at the wall and not left on stand-by. Not only does this reduce the risk of fires, but it’ll also save you money on your utility bills.
And double-check the oven: a colleague cooked some pasta for his daughter before setting off on holiday last year and spent the whole of his break worrying about whether he’d switched off the gas ring or not.
If you have timers for light switches, great – this will definitely do the trick. Alternatively, ensure your house sitter switches on lights at night but also remembers to switch them back off in the morning. Remember to always light the dark outside areas of your property.
Some clients actually have timers on their TVs which is set to go on for 3 hours every night. This is super handy.
It sounds fairly obvious, but make sure you do a sweep to ensure all doors and windows are closed and locked properly. Check the garage and outside sheds as well, if you have them.
If you were to leave a door or window unsecured and were burgled, you may find your home insurance provider unwilling to pay out for a claim because you failed to take “reasonable care” of the property. In addition, open windows will trigger false alarms which is an unnecessary stress.
Also, once the doors and windows are locked, make sure the keys are completely out of sight and reach of any windows. There’s no point locking a door or security gate if you’re putting the key within easy reach of an intruder.
Finally, leave a spare set of keys with a friend, relative or trusted neighbour so that someone can gain entry to the property if something was to go wrong inside the house. Remember to notify Secure Rite or your armed response provider who these ‘keyholders’ are just in case something happens at your property while you are away. This also provides your security company with a list of who is allowed to be on your property. Remember, the assumption is that no one is allowed to be on your property while you are away unless your security company is told otherwise beforehand.
Place valuables such as jewellery, electronics or sentimental items either in a safe or in a lock-up room if your home. Do not tempt wandering eyes by placing these in a visible area in your home.
When last did you truly check if your alarm system is in working order? This step is crucial and should be done at least a week before you leave on holiday. Alarm systems are like cars, they need to be serviced and maintained. Remember to be proactive and assess your system is working. This includes both the inside system and external sensors. Remember, insurance companies can argue ‘negligence’ should anything happen that results in a claim.
10. See everything when you need to
The combination of security with technology has introduced a great range of products that allow you to:
- Manage your alarm system remotely from your phone
- Be alerted to any access anomalies on your property
- Live view your property from different angles and actually be able to rewind and fast forward incidents of interest.
There are so many great tools available, contact Secure Rite for a full menu or tools.
Let’s face it, we’ve all heard at least one horror story about a family returning home from holiday only to find that their house has been broken into. Let us keep your home safe while you are away so you can relax and be assured that your holiday isn’t costing you your home.
Call Secure Rite for all your home and business security needs.