Keep burglars at bay if going away
Homeowners who are planning to go on holiday this summer can adopt some simple measures to help protect their properties from burglars.
ADT Armourguard general manager Ian Anderson said trends for his organisation showed that summer months, in particular December and January, were the busiest times for home alarm callouts.
‘‘Many thieves see the summer as an opportune time for illegal behaviour,’’ he said.
‘‘End-of-year celebrations and summer gatherings mean that a lot of people find themselves away from home more often than usual. This unfortunately provides opportunities for unwelcome visitors, so it’s important that home owners remain vigilant and take time to carefully evaluate home security measures.
‘‘Nobody wants to return home from a relaxing break to find their house has been damaged or broken into.’’
The best defence against burglary is prevention and planning, and generally making a home unappealing to burglars, he said.
The following tips can help homeowners keep property safe over the coming months:
Beware of who may be listening. Never announce travel plans in public areas close to home where others can overhear your conversation, or in online media such as chat rooms and Facebook.
Do not leave notes for family or friends outside your home, as potential burglars can and will read them.
Notify a trusted neighbour of your travel dates and make a reciprocal arrangement for your neighbour to put out your rubbish or put his bin in front of your house, to clear flyers, mail and packages left in front entrances and mailboxes and occasionally to park his car in your driveway or in front of your home.
Make sure all windows and doors are properly closed and locked. Use quality deadbolt or door locks as it is surprisingly easy to open a lock without a key.
Never hide spare keys in mailboxes, under doormats, above doorways or anywhere visible from the entry. Burglars know most of the hiding places.
Do not leave tools lying around outside as this can invite impulse burglars to use them to break into your home.
Do not let valuables be seen from the outside of your home. If you buy a new appliance make sure that you crush and conceal the boxes in your rubbish.
Leave curtains slightly parted so your home does not look empty.
Put mail on hold and suspend any daily newspapers.
Install automatic timers for lights, radios and televisions, preferably set to switch on and off at random intervals, to create visible and audible deceptions.
Install motion-sensor outdoor lights around your home and mount them high enough to prevent intruders from disabling them.
Never leave an answering machine message indicating you are out or away. Instead, just say: ‘‘ . . . can’t come to the phone’’. Lower the telephone’s ringing volume so it cannot be heard outside.