Protect home while on holiday
Article by: Kimberly Guest
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Keep your home secure while away on holiday

It's that time of the year when thoughts turn to getting away and escaping the normal humdrum of life. Unfortunately, the holiday season often means an increase in criminal activity, and this could leave you with niggling fears in the back of your mind or, worse, returning home to find you've been burgled.

There are, however, ways to lower these risks so that you and your family can enjoy your break.

Minimise your exposure

If your home is an easy target with little in the way of security features, loads of hiding spots and no security company keeping an eye on the property, now is the time to look at making upgrades.

Read our articles: Home security: Safeguarding your family and property and Looking for a security company? Ask these questions before you decide for more information on how to secure your home.

Test your security

Take the time to evaluate your security measures and do any repairs and replacements required. Pay particular attention to your outdoor lighting, perimeter, access points, security cameras, motion detectors, doors, windows, padlocks, and battery backup systems. If you have an entry point with an access code, be sure to change the code before you leave especially if anyone else has ever known the current code.

If you have a security system, test that it is in good working order; the alarm siren triggers properly; and your security company is receiving alerts and responding timeously. If your alarm system has a cellular notification component to it, remember to top up the airtime or account.

In the know

If you are going to be away from home for a while, you are going to want someone keeping an eye on your property while you're gone. Notifying your security company or senior members of your neighbourhood watch is obviously essential, but you may also want to consider alerting neighbours who you are friendly with, or nearby family members who might be willing to check up on your home while you are away.

Finding a reliable housesitter with contactable references will also go a long way to achieving peace of mind and save you on kennel costs if you have pets.

Keep it quiet

Outside of the people who will be keeping an eye on your property while you're away, avoid discussing your holiday plans as this can alert would-be criminals that your home will be unoccupied. Be particularly wary of positing on social media, community groups and online forums as many criminal syndicates now trawl the various sites to find easy targets. Instead, leave the posting of pics and comments for when you are back home.

Prying eyes

Bear in mind that would-be criminals could be monitoring your neighbourhood. Where possible, pack the car out of the view of observers or during the night when it is more difficult for people to see what you are up to. Disconnecting your intercom and doorbells will also make it harder for criminals to establish that no one is home.

Add activity

Timer systems are easy to install and can give the impression that a home is occupied even when it isn't. Set lights in key areas of the home to come on and turn off during the times they would normally be active when you're home. Leaving lights on permanently, however, is a common sign that no one is home.

Consider putting your TV or radio on a similar timer system to create the impression that someone is home both day and night.

Stay in touch

Check in with your security company, housesitter, neighbours and family members regularly while you are away. This will put your mind at ease that there is nothing to worry about and also remind them to keep an eye on your home security.

Don't add to the temptation

If you've been on a bit of a shopping spree you could be making yourself a more attractive target to criminals. Avoid unpacking your car in easy view of observers and make sure that Christmas lights do not make presents visible to passers-by.

Packaging disposed with normal refuse can also alert criminals to new items within the home. Making use of one of the various waste separation and collection sites at shopping centres and churches won't just be more environmentally friendly, it will make your home a safer place.

Interested in upgrading your home security system?

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