Avoid the jingle hell this Christmas with locks, lights and the latest security technology

DECEMBER 12, 2019

Christmas is a peak time for unwanted house guests, yet in the excitement of planning the perfect summer getaway, it’s easy for homeowners and tenants to overlook the security of their property this holiday season. 

In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)[i], revealed residential break-ins represented 71% of all burglaries. Moreover, research from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are peak times for home break-ins[ii].

Apart from mounting an extensive and expensive network of CCTV surveillance cameras, Angus Raine, Executive Chairman of Raine & Horne, recommends more cost-effective actions can ensure only Santa uses your chimney this Christmas.

Smart technologies

The rapid advance in smart technology means it’s now possible to purchase wireless cameras from your local electronics store or online from the likes of Kogan for less than $70 and monitor your home remotely and in real-time from an app on your iPhone or android device. 

“It’s even possible to set a motion detector sensor, so you’re alerted to any unusual activity in your home right away from an app,” Mr Raine said.

He added, “There are other features such as enhanced night vision, live-streamed footage and listening equipment, which can help ensure your property is protected day and night this Christmas.

“Apart from installing a security camera, be sure to lock up the power box to prevent tampering with systems and any lights with motion sensors you might have installed.”

Intruder lock-out

Also guaranteeing your doors have high-quality locks, particularly deadlocks, and windows have keyed locks or security grilles is a must if you’re travelling away from home this Christmas, Mr Raine advised. 

“Take some time to do some reconnoitring around your property before you leave for holidays,” he said.

“As part of the survey, look for faulty or wobbly locks on doors or windows, ensure windows can’t be jimmied open by burglars, and double-check locks and bolts are in working order, and there are keys to open them.”

He added, “If a lock or bolt looks faulty, replace it - and if you’re a tenant, contact your property manager to alert them to the risks. 

“Also, if your home has sliding doors or windows, a simple metal or wooden rod wedged in the cavity can prevent them from being opened from the outside.”

Creating the impression someone is home

Presenting the idea that a home is occupied is another simple deterrent, recommended Mr Raine.

“Creating this impression 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. 

“Set a timer to switch on your lights and a radio or television at different times while hanging some old clothes on the line and leaving a pair of shoes at the front door are other ways to give the impression your home is occupied,” Mr Raine said. 

Solar powered motion sensor lights can operate day and night and can start from as little as $20 from an online retailer.

“Ask your neighbours to collect your mail including newspapers, park a car in your driveway and put the rubbish bins out for collection each week. 

Mr Raine concluded, “Even just a few of these measures should be enough to keep your home safe this Christmas.” 

Checklist for the perfect Aussie family holiday

Apart from securing your property before setting out on a well-earned break, there are a variety of steps you can take to make a holiday road trip enjoyable for all the family. 

  1. Avoid road trip hell – get your children involved in planning the vacation – including the sights, exhibitions, beaches they’d be interested in seeing. The more the kids know about what to expect from a road trip, the happier they will be about the vacation.
  2. Download your entertainment – the modern car with DVD and iPod compatibility is a lifesaver on long road trips. For younger children, there is a wealth of music and storytelling podcasts available, with the ‘Kids Listen’ app from the ABC brilliant for pre-schoolers. Likewise, there’s plenty of free podcasts and music you can download for the older kids, along with audiobooks, games and movies from subscription services such as Netflix and Stan
  3. Don’t rely on fast-food – it’s easy for city-slickers used to a fast food outlet on every corner to forget to pack some extra snacks. Long-distance road trips can turn boring fast, and boredom often leads to hunger and worse. Pack any spare nooks in the car with snacks and other refreshments. 
  4. Check the spare and grab a service – make sure the spare tyre is full of air, and if you’re going on an extended road trip, a professional service might be worth the expense to avoid breakdowns on the freeway in 35°C heat. Also, double-check your roadside assistance membership is up-to-date and that they can help should your vehicle break down in transit. 

  [i] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/4510.0

[ii] https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_news/Does-crime-increase-over-Christmas-and-New-Year-.aspx