The Christmas period traditionally sees a sharp increase in domestic burglary, with criminals targeting homes they see to be vulnerable. The crime that comes with the season is an unfortunate reality for many who become victims of opportunistic thieves, so while you’re busy putting all the finishing touches to your holiday preparations, ensuring your home is properly protected should be a priority.
To avoid being a victim, here are some tips for protecting your home this holiday season, wherever you may be.
TRAVELING OR GOING FOR SOCIAL EVENTS
- It may be difficult, but be careful not to become distracted when laden down with bags as this makes you an easy target for pickpockets. Ensure your handbag or wallet is secure and keep cell phones out of sight. Keep your cheque book and credit cards separate, and avoid carrying too much cash or leaving valuables in your car.
- The season is normally a period filled with celebrations and social events, so beware of leaving your belongings unattended and make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back.
- Be sure that your doors and windows are safely locked: Fact has it that during festive season, homes become more vulnerable to burglars. When leaving the house unattended, make sure all the windows and doors are locked. Pay particular attention to doors and windows at the rear of the house. And if you have a shed or garage, do not forget to lock them even if your house is fenced.
- Change your Locks: Have you been willing to change your locks for some time? Or maybe, your ex or old friends have spare keys to your house, this is the appropriate time to change your locks. This is a sure measure to avoid any of them gaining access to your apartment for whatever reason. You can however, drop a spare with someone you trust for emergency reasons.
- Turn it Off: This is another very important one to remember, before you travel make sure you turn off ALL your electrical appliances, from the smallest to the bigger ones. (Even that socket without your phone charger, turn it off). Also remember your gas cylinder should be off and kept somewhere safe.
- Illuminate your Surroundings: Just before you make any trip be sure to check that your security lights are perfectly working, some people even install brand new ones just to be extra careful. Nothing attracts unwanted guests like a house without proper security lights.
- Run a Check on your Security Systems: If you have security systems in your house, this season is a good time to run a check and ensure they are still working properly. Intentionally set off your alarm and see how quick it would respond. Call experts to ensure your CCTV covers all entries to your apartment. But if you can’t afford this kind of security system then you resort to what was used before the rise of technology which is having your neighbours to just keep an eye out on your residence and report any strange activity they see. (That’s why it’s important to be a good neighbour).
- Conduct Proper Sanitation: Before you travel, please it is very important that you clean your house thoroughly. This plays a huge role especially when you have food items at home and important documents. Insects and reptiles are attracted to dirty environments, so tidy up your home to avoid having an infested apartment when you return.
- Secure your Car: Finally, make sure all car windows are rolled up properly and air-tight. Check that your car bonnet/hood and boot/trunk are secure. It is equally advisable to remove your car battery and keep in a locked room, but do not place it directly on the floor, put the battery on a stool or a wooden plank. Also, if your spare tyre is in good shape, you can deflate one of your other tyres, this will discourage a thief from moving your car.
WHILE AT HOME
- Although we love showing off our Christmas trees and our colorfully decorated homes, this can also act as a beacon for thieves ready to take some of your hard earned loot. Close your blinds or partially restrict views into potentially high yield areas inside your home, such as openly visible large flat screen TVs or sound systems.
- If you go out in the evening, leave some lights on, but not your Christmas tree lights as these are a frequent cause of fires.
- Out of sight, out of mind: Never leave gifts on show. If you can see them from the outside, so can an opportunistic thief. It is best to keep presents locked away and out of sight of prying eyes up until the big day. If you can, store them in the loft or a locked cupboard and secure anything of particular value such as jewellery or tech gadgets in a safe. Be sure to close curtains at night because a well-decorated home sends messages to thieves that you are geared up for Christmas and are likely to have gifts somewhere in the home.
- Take note on couriers: Most Christmas shoppers make use of the internet these days, but of course that means a constant stream of parcel deliveries coming your way. Delivery personnel will not ask to enter your home and charity collectors will not be offended if you ask to see their ID. If you’re not going to be in when a parcel is due, do not under any circumstances leave a note on the door for the courier. Opportunistic thieves scan neighbourhoods for such notes, which basically say, “I’m not in right now”. If you can’t arrange a delivery for when you are in, make arrangements to have the parcels left in a safe place or with a neighbour, or have them delivered to your work address.
The festive season should be a time of relaxation let’s ensure that we do the aforementioned just when putting all the finishing touches to your holiday preparations and beyond. KUS wishes you and your family a merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.