Secure your property while you enjoy the sun and sea!

"Burglary is a crime of opportunity where entry is gained due to the carelessness of homeowners. "

I don't think the above quote is absolutely true, but it is true that there are many things the average homeowner can do to make his home less of a target. 

Now is the time to get ready to enjoy a carefree break.  Attend to the following in the weeks before you leave:

  • Have your alarm system checked and repaired if necessary. If an alarm goes off every now and then, nobody may pay attention when it is actually a problem. Test the radio connection to your service provider. Also, check the back-up battery of your alarm system - it is no use if a power failure of a few hours renders it useless.
  • Take a walk around and through your property with a close friend or neighbour who is not too familiar with your house. Start outside and ask yourself  "How would I best break in?" The purpose of not doing it alone is  that your friend may spot things you may overlook. Address any weak spots identified. This may include cutting back on plants and hedges that provide hiding space for burglars,  and illuminating all major entrances. Make sure that all security lights are working. Any kind of sliding glass door is a favourite target. Guard against the door being lifted up and out by installing a safety lock into the door's upper track.
  • Get into the habit of closing the garage door all the time. If you tend to leave the door open all the time now, criminals will be quick to pick up your absence if the door suddenly remains closed.
  • Install timer switches on lights and even the TV. Imitate your routine to create a natural looking sequence: set timers to switch on the lights in the living area as well as the TV around sunset, and to switch it off around bedtime, when the lights in the bedrooms should be switched on for a while.
  • Get a house sitter, or ask a neighbour or trusted friend to pop by regularly while you are away. Some activity - like a car parked in the driveway, and people coming and going - will confuse a criminal who is on the lookout for signs that you are away. Invite neighbours without a pool who are staying at home, to cool off in your pool on hot summer days!
  • Make sure that someone knows and understands your alarm system. Leave contact details with them, as well as spare keys. Spare keys should not be hidden on the premises! This person - be it your house-sitter of friend - must know who to contact  and what to do if there is an incident.
  • Arrange someone to take care of your dogs while you are away. Some pet lovers will find it difficult to do, but if you can leave the dogs at home, it is a great added security measure. Not because they are  vicious; they need not even be seen, but they have to be heard. A dog with a menacing bark will scare away a lot of would-be burglars, not only because they don't know what kind of dog you have and what risk it would be to them if they try tried to break in, but more likely because a noisy dog will create a disturbance and get attention - the last thing a burglar wants!
  • Check your insurance and make sure that you are adequately insured. Prepare a proper record of all your valuables - a video recording is ideal.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries for the period you are going to be away.

Just before you leave:

  • Tell your neighbours that you are going away.
  • Inform your security company of your absence, and provide them with contact details of the person who is going to keep an eye on your property.
  • Store valuables in a safe, if possible. Firearms should in any case be securely locked away.
  • Make sure that  ladders or tools which may assist an intruder are all stored away.
  • Unplug electrical appliances as far as possible and switch off geysers.
  • Switch on the answering machine, or turn down the volume of the phone. You do not want  a phone that is ringing incessantly to reveal your absence. And do not leave a message on the answering machine which states that you are away on leave!
  • Check that all doors and windows are securely closed. Close those windows on the second floor too, and lock the door between the garage and the house.
  • Switch on the alarm - you should do this even if your house is going to be unattended for 5 minutes!

Criminals will look for signs that the house is unoccupied.  To avoid tell-tale signs, ask  the house sitter or friend to:

  • Collect your mail and junk mail regularly.
  • Water plants and mow the lawn.  An unkept garden will tip off criminals.
  • Open and close curtains and blinds from time to time - and not the same ones every day. Nothing gives your absence away like a house of which all curtains and blinds remain closed for weeks on end.
  • Switch on some lights from time to time if you do not have timer switches on lights and the TV.
  • Put out the rubbish bin for collection. Keep a few black bags with non-smelly refuse ready so that the bin is not empty.

With this all done, nothing should stop you from forgetting about all your cares when you point the nose of your car in the direction of your favourite holiday spot!



Published in: November news


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