Securing one’s home
The increasing rise in crime taking place is a worrying development for Cyprus. Most of those thefts are taking place from drug users in their effort to secure their dose or even trade in them. It is a worrying situation because those thieves are getting more daring with thefts taking place in broadf daylight and even worse when the residents are in their home. Most of those thefts are based on information given as an inside job, either from inhouse foreign (mainly) help, as well as from occasional workers that are undertaking jobs within the house. Because of this, I have prepared a basic “to do” list in order to protect your property, especially for those house owners who are away for long periods, be it for holidays, etc. since these thieves inspect the house prior to the “visit” to ascertain who lives in them and if vacant.
Place safety locks (known locally as the American Locks) which are difficult to break. Do not leave the key on the door once locked.
Install a security door rather than a wooden/aluminium one.
If you have aluminium windows/doors,
place the new locks which are difficult to undo. The old locks get unlocked very easily.
If you are away, close the curtains and leave a light on, so that the “visitors” cannot take it for granted that the house is empty.
Fence your property to the extent that you can and lock the gate to the plot.
Place light sensors around the house, so that when there is movement during the night the lights come on (it might cost you higher electricity bills, but it is well worth it). If you have a safe, install it in the concrete floor. Adopt an alarm system (nowadays a must) and if your house is on two floors and you sleep upstairs, place the alarm on the ground floor during the evening. The alarm must be on when you are away. The new gadgets with remote control are most useful.
Let the police know that you will be away, say over 3-4 days, so that they have it in mind.
Should you choose to place cameras, it is advisable that they will not put off the thieves necessarily, but can be useful after the event.
Avoid leaving ladders and other materials facilitate the thieves’ climbing a higher level.
Use an interphone to connect with the entrance gate, preferably with a camera and place at least an “eye” on the outside doors.
If you are away and you neighbours tell them about it.
Adopt a large dog that must be outside the house. Do not adopt vicious ones since the effort is to protect your property and not necessarily cause bodily harm to uninvited visitors. If you are away, arrange for someone to feed the dog. Ideal guard dogs are Alsatians.
Let your neighbourhood policeman know if you are away (alas, doubtful of their effectiveness since they do not work after 11.00 p.m.!)
If you have an alarm system make sure that the security company has a name and telephone number to contact if you are away.
Do not give the house key to people who work in the house, e.g. cleaners, workers, etc. and do not place a key under the entrance mat.
Do not leave your home key in the car when taking your car for repair or car wash.
If you are away, connect your home phone to your mobile and do not use an answering machine saying that you are away.
These “things to do” should provide home owners some comfort and security and this article is not intended to scare the readers. As we say in Greek “look after your clothes so at least at the end you are left with half of them”. Most likely you will not experience this, but as said before, circumstances are changing.