Many Australians pack up the car, the kids and the presents and go somewhere during the holiday season, if only to visit relatives or go to the beach for Christmas Day. Whether you go away for a day, a week or month, it is important to know that your home will be safe and secure these holidays.
There are some easy measures you can take to ensure you return home to your house just the way you left it. One of the most basic is to turn the telephone and answering machine volume down when you go out so burglars can’t hear that no one’s home. Leaving the television or radio on with the curtains drawn, on the other hand, will make them think someone could be there.
Garden sheds or garages often present thieves with the tools they need to break in to your home. A ladder left lying around the garden not only gives thieves something they can sell, it also hands them a tool to break into your home. So make sure your shed or garage is locked with a case-hardened padlock or high grade chain when not in use. This will also help to secure items such as lawn mowers, bicycles, surf boards or garden mulchers.
Overgrown branches, thick bushes, large trees and high fences all provide thieves with the perfect cover from the street, and give them all the time they need to open a door lock or window. To help protect your home, clear the line of sight from the street to doors and windows.
Even better, have a monitored security system installed and make sure all members of your household know how to use it.
Sensor lights on the outside of your house can work as a deterrent. Sensor lights are activated when something moves across their path, so anyone who is considering breaking in to your home should be discouraged by the possibility of exposure. When installing the lights, make sure they are not so sensitive that the family pet will set them off.
Put deadbolt locks on outside doors and make sure all door hinges are on the inside. Lock all entry points every night and whenever you are away from home.
If in the heat of the summer you like to have the house open, wire mesh security screens on doors and windows will allow breezes to flow through your home while still maintaining a level of security. Thieves have been known to blatantly enter through an unlocked door while the occupants are in another part of the house.
Piles of mail, newsletters and junk mail are a sure sign that a house is not occupied. So if you’re planning to go away, either have your mail picked up by a trusted neighbour or have the local post office stop delivery until you get back. You’ll also want to cancel any other regular deliveries such as newspapers. Tell relatives or neighbours when you’ll be back and let them know where you can be reached in an emergency.
Items such as digital cameras, televisions or stereo systems should be engraved with their unique serial number. Keep a record of all serial numbers in a secure location, preferably outside your home (e.g. a bank security deposit box). If you have a lot of valuable jewellery, consider locking it in a bank security deposit box, or at a minimum, take a photo of each valuable item with a description and ask your solicitor to keep a copy of this information for you.
Neighbourhood Watch has an interactive checklist on their website called Virtual House, which has been designed to help you assess the safety and security of your home all year round, whether you’re home or away on holidays.
Built in conjunction with RACV and Lockwood, the Virtual House comes in three parts. One is a simple checklist of home security basics, while another provides a comprehensive room-by-room tour, with safety advice for every part of your home including the front and back gardens. The third section suggests ways to protect your home, such as having monitored home alarm systems, window and door locks and adequate insurance cover.
Source : Quartile Property Network