Holiday security tips

It is best to plan your home security now to ensure your home is safe during the holidays.

It’s almost the end of the school term, and many families are heading off on holiday to make the most of the last warm spell before winter. Unfortunately, with everyone in the holiday mood, criminals are on the lookout for opportunities to steal.

Most suburban areas experience a sharp increase in home burglaries during holiday periods because criminals are quick to spot signs that homeowners are out for the day or away on holiday.

To ensure your holiday isn’t ruined by getting back to find your home has been broken into, burgled or vandalised, you may need to upgrade your home security features.

Before you leave for that well-earned break – or even go out for the day – you may need to take preventative measures to secure your safety, home and belongings. You should also check that you have adequate insurance to cover such events.


Security experts suggest the following steps for improving your chances of a crime-free holiday:

Install an alarm system supported by a reliable security firm. This will provide year-round protection, and your insurer will probably lower your premium if you have one. Notify your security company if you will be away from home and arrange for more frequent patrols during your absence.

Tell at least one of your neighbours that you are going away and ask them to report any strangers on your property, or the activation of your alarm, to your security company and the police. Be prepared to offer similar help when they go away. Keeping criminals out of the neighbourhood is the best way to keep everyone safe.

Good quality door locks are essential and are usually easy to install. Remember to fit locks to the top and bottom of all sliding glass doors so they can’t be lifted off their tracks.

Keep your keys safe. Only you and your family members or a trusted friend should have access to your house keys or remotes. If you suspect someone has managed to get hold of them, immediately change the locks and remote codes.

Replace globes in outside lights with photosensitive CFLs that will turn on automatically at dusk. Also, consider additional motion-sensitive exterior lights that will detect night-time intruders and are linked to your alarm system and security firm.

Unplug electronic devices, sound systems and television sets and lock them out of sight while you’re away. This will also prevent damage from lightning and load shedding surges.

Keep up appearances

Criminals are always on the lookout for signs that a home is unoccupied.

Smart technology allows you to check on your home through CCTV cameras linked to your smartphone. It lets you turn music and lights on and off remotely, so your home appears occupied. Alternatively, plug some table lamps and a radio or a TV into programmable time switches.

Caravans, trailers or boats parked in the same spot most of the time and then vanishing for a few weeks are a dead giveaway. It helps to rearrange them regularly during the year and, if possible, ask a friend or neighbour to park a spare vehicle at your home while you’re away.

Stop newspapers and other home deliveries at least a week before you go on holiday, and ask a friend or a neighbour to clear your post box regularly while you’re away.

Mow your lawn and clean your pool before you go, and if you’re planning a long trip, arrange to have someone maintain the garden. Unkempt lawns and dead flowers are a sure sign that nobody’s home.

Don’t leave recorded voicemail messages saying you are out or away and don’t post travel and holiday pictures and updates on social media. You won’t know who might see your absence as a golden opportunity to pay you a visit and help themselves to your belongings.

Holiday at home

If you are spending the holidays at home, you should be extra security conscious during this period:

Keep your gates and doors locked – even if you’re out by the pool, watching TV, showering, or quickly going to the corner shop.

Never leave garden tools or other tools like lawnmowers, hoses, ladders or hand tools lying outside when you have been gardening or doing some home maintenance. Put them out of the public eye, even if you stop for lunch or go inside for a glass of water.

Keep in mind that criminals often work in pairs or groups. Don’t be so busy talking to a stranger at your front entrance that you don’t notice his friends entering the back of your property.

Your home security must be a priority, especially during holidays.

Writer: Sarah-Jane Meyer

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