Keep your home safe and relax on holidays.
If you’re planning to go on a trip, you want to prepare your home before you head off. Remember, your home is going to be unoccupied for weeks or even months. It needs to be secured so that you can focus on enjoying your time away, not worrying about your house and your special items inside.
One of the most important considerations is making your home look like it’s still occupied. We’ve put together a 10 Point Checklist to help you plan before you leave.
1. Lock all external doors, windows and garage.
Don’t forget to lock your front door, back door and the door between your garage and house. Lock all sliding doors with their security locks. As well, lock pet doors and any other external entry ways into your house, as well as all windows. If there are deadbolt locks, make sure you use them. Electrical garage doors are particularly vulnerable to thieves using garage door opener scanners. However, there is a way to defeat these scanners – by disconnecting the receiver and using the manual garage door lock instead. You can also unplug your garage door opener when you’re away.
2. Don’t hide your house keys anywhere.
Hiding your house key under the mat, in a fake rock or inside a magnetic house key box stuck to the underside of an outdoor pipe is never a good idea. Chances are thieves know all about these and how to get around them. Don’t forget to remove them before you head off.
3. Install light timers
You can use light timers to turn your household lights on and off every evening – the impression is that someone is home. There are many old-school analogue and new digitally programmable light timers on the market. Essentially, they all do the same thing so choose the light timer you feel most comfortable programming.
4. Consider motion-activated outdoor floodlights
Bright floodlights are an excellent theft-deterrent. Outdoor floodlights with built-in motion sensors are terrific at detecting and deterring would-be thieves. They can also automatically light the way when you get home – perfect if you’re jetlagged!
5. Leave a car in the driveway
If no car is visible at your home, the message is unmistakable – no one is home. So, it helps to leave a car in your driveway. If you are driving your car wherever you are going, invite a neighbour to park in your driveway while you’re away. If they usually park on the street or if it’s their second car, they’ll be happy to.
6. Window blinds as per normal
There are varied opinions on how best to leave your window blinds. People usually choose to close their blinds to prevent would-be thieves from peering in and seeing your unprotected valuables. Unfortunately, leaving your blinds closed for weeks and months also lets them know you’re not home and if anyone does break into your home, the blinds keep them unseen from the street. Home safety experts agree that blinds should generally be left open or semi-open rather than completely closed when you head off on holidays. And if you’ve got other home security recommendations in place such as light timers and helpful neighbours keeping a close eye on your house, leaving your blinds as they usually are is usually the best balance.
7. Stop or redirect your mail
Often it feels like your letterbox is a never-ending river of leaflets, local magazines and other unsolicited material – with a few important parcels mixed in. Left unchecked, your mail could give tell-tale signs you’re not home. Even if you stop your mail, the junk mail continues. Ask your neighbour or a friend to check and collect your mail once a week. Nothing shouts ‘no one’s home’ like an accumulation of newspapers at the end of your driveway.
8. A home security system
Not everyone considers it necessary to install a security alarm system. However, according to the ‘Home Burglary in Australia Statistics 2019’ article on the Budget Direct website, highlighted that over 49.1% of burglars would deter them from attempting to enter your property.
9. A Web camera system
With the invention of high-speed internet, the proliferation of high-quality small cameras means it’s now relatively affordable to see live-streaming video while away using your smartphone. Imagine checking on your house and property from the other side of the globe. Some systems even send you text alerts if a movement is detected.
10. Extra security measures for valuables
Important valuables that are only minimally secured while you’re at home, need more security while you’re gone. Thieves have the luxury of time to find valuables and remove them from poorly secured places like lockboxes (which can be stolen and broken up elsewhere), the freezer, food boxes, drawers or under beds. Instead, invest in a home safe that bolts to the floor or keep valuables in a bank safe deposit box.
Cover these 10 points, and your home will be left secured as much as possible. And just some food for thought. Posting your travel plans and holiday snaps on social media is a clear message that you’ve gone away. You’re fine if you’re only posting from a private account to your close friends or family – the grandparents are desperate to see your photos! But, keep in mind that the wider picture – posts to a wider community on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube could fall into the wrong hands. Also, don’t change your answering machine message to anything that implies you’ll be away. It’s an open invitation for thieves.
Set yourself up to enjoy your break. Secure your home properly, and you’ll thank yourself for it while you’re away and when you return.
We can also provide short term patrol services during the holidays to ensure that your property is secured.
Home Burglary in Australia Statistics 2019