Is your home really safe when you’re out of town?

Beef up your home’s safety and security before you go on holiday with these essential tips.

Get expert advice

If you haven’t done this before, meet with a security expert to identify your home’s areas of weakness. Home security products and systems to fix vulnerable spots can be recommended.  

Test your alarm system

An effective alarm system should scare off potential criminals, but also immediately alerts you and your security provider of any intrusion. Always test your alarm before you leave. If you have a private security company, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re going away.  

Invest in cameras

Use a CCTV camera system for constant surveillance of your home and activities around your property. You can also purchase ones that connect to your phone so that you can view footage remotely.  

Set timers on lights

Motion-sensor lights can detect any strange movements around your home’s perimeter and automatically turn on and off. It’s also a good idea to set up a few near doors and access points. You can also time indoor lights to make it look like someone is home every night.  

Lock doors and windows

Windows and doors (especially sliding ones) are easy access for criminals so make sure yours are properly locked before you leave. If any of the locks aren’t working, replace them. Ask the security expert about installing security gates and burglar bars if you don’t have them.  

Keep up home maintenance

If you have a garden or pool service, they should still come while you’re away, Pavement lawns that look deserted and overgrown are a dead giveaway there’s no one at home.  

Advertise your security

Put a security sign near your most obvious entry point, usually the driveway gate. A Beware of the Dog sign is also a good deterrent.  

Disconnect your gate garage door

Automatic gates are easier to open as most of them can be opened with a universal remote. You may want to disengage your gates and use a manual lock instead. Keep the garage door closed with cars parked inside, and don’t leave house keys in the car.  

Lock your valuables in a safe

A small safe is a win, but if it’s out of your price range, hide your valuables in unusual places. A standalone safe that’s light enough to carry will be taken.  

Leave a key with a friend or family member

Give a gate remote and house keys to a trusted friend or family member. Ask them to stop by regularly to pick up random flyers and post lying around outside as these also shout out there is nobody at home.  

Don’t hide a key

Potential thieves will always look for hidden keys and they usually find them. Give the spare key to a friend or family member.  

Limit online posts

Posting your travel plans and every move you make on social media pages can lead to security issues as you really have no idea who sees them. Don’t post selfies with your house number in the background, or refer to landmarks in your area.  

Pack away tools and ladders

Ladders are an invitation for burglars to break in upstairs, while tools can be used as weapons, to pick locks and break windows. Don’t leave them lying around.  

Join your Neighbourhood Watch and local WhatsApp Group.

This is most effective for quick communication of any criminal or suspicious behaviour.  

Use security apps

There are many apps that can help you track your home security and allow you to monitor your home through installed cameras from your smartphone.  

Get with the tech

Technology is so integrated into our everyday lives; there is even technology available that will ensure only the people you’ve authorised are allowed into your home. Do some research to see what might suit your lifestyle, but remember to keep things simple and effective.  

Barking dog monitors

A break-in deterrent and alternative to owning a dog, barking alarms go off when people get within a certain distance of them. They are reasonably priced and easy to install too.  

Switch off electrical appliances

You never know when a power surge may hit so disconnect computers, TVs and other electronics from their wall sockets before you leave, or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector. Unplug non-essential electronics such as coffee machines, fans and lamps as it reduces the risk of fire and your electricity bill.  

Remember most burglars are opportunists looking for an easy target, but professional burglars will watch your home. Be aware.

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