Home safety over the Festive season

DECEMBER 17, 2020

The Christmas holidays are a peak time for thieves. In the excitement of preparing for the summer break now that interstate borders have reopened, it’s easy for homeowners to overlook their home security. 

Ominously for those seeking a well-earned vacation, the chances of a festive season home invasion are growing with the latest from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that robbery is rising by 16%[i]

The national statistician reported that robbery has increased over the last four years. Moreover, in 2019, there were 11,775 victims of theft in Australia, the highest recorded number of victims since 2012.  

Apart from employing a team of muscled up security guards, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your property from crooks while you’re on vacation.

Secure your windows and doors

When trying to get access to your property, the crooks will usually try your doors, windows, and screen doors first. So, to keep them out, start by checking your doors have high-quality locks, particularly deadlocks, and the windows have keyed locks or security grilles. If they don’t have these safeguards, your local locksmith can help. 

Also, consider fitting security screens where you can. If your home has sliding doors or windows, a low-cost hack involves wedging a simple metal or wooden rod in the cavity to prevent them from being opened from the outside.

That said, be sure not to undo all the excellent work by leaving spare keys in obvious ‘hiding spots’ such as under the pot next to the front door, under a brick or in the electricity metre box. These are the first hiding places that burglars check.

Moreover, if you hide a key and a crook finds it, you immediately lose your home and contents insurance cover. Canstar says one in five people could be at risk of voiding their home and contents insurance policy by not securing their spare key. So, for homeowners, a more prudent method involves leaving the keys with friends and family that live nearby.

Home security system and other technology

Other tips include installing a security alarm, locking up the power box to prevent tampering with alarm systems and lights, and ensuring gates are locked, and gaps in fences are repaired.

Presenting the impression that a home is occupied is another simple deterrent. This usually means leaving blinds or curtains in regular positions, while installing a sensor light to flick on when someone approaches can ward off aspiring intruders. 

You can also consider setting a timer to switch on your lights or television at different times. If you have a Google Home device, you might be able set a media alarm where the plays a prearrange music at various times through the day. For the truly tech savvy, a Google Home can also be integrated with home security systems.

Low cost protections and avoid schoolboy security errors 

It might sound a touch glib but hanging some old clothes on the clothesline and leaving a pair of shoes at the front door can give the Yuletide villains the impression your home is occupied. If you still have newspapers and magazines delivered to your home, be sure to suspend the subscription before you take a summer holiday. 

Letterboxes bulging with letters and other mail is another giveaway that you’re out of town. So, ask a friendly neighbour to collect your mail and put your rubbish out for collection. Another ruse to keep the robbers at bay involves your neighbour parking a car in your driveway while you vacation. By employing just a few of these steps should be enough to keep your home safe this Christmas. 

For more tips on securing your home for the summer holidays, contact your local Raine & Horne office.

[i] https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/recorded-crime-victims-australia/latest-release