Holiday home safety this festive season

If  you’re heading off soon for a well-deserved long summer holiday it’s recommended you start now to plan some simple and cost effective security measures to make sure your home and property is safe while you’re away.

Holiday home safety

In Australia, around a quarter of a million households are victims of at least one break-in a year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, and even more are the target of an attempted break-in.

“Many people leave their homes and additional family cars exposed when they head off on their annual holidays and this can be a green light for burglars,” Mick Rumble from Hawks Nest First National said.

“It’s important to take as many precautions as you can to ensure you don’t return from your holiday to find you’re a victim of crime.”

Home security tips from First National Real Estate Hawks Nest include:

     Security alarm: If you have the time – and the budget – before you go away, install a back-to-base burglar alarm. “This is still the best deterrent,” Mick Rumble said.

“For most burglars, an alarm simply makes your home too difficult to try and enter. Be sure to display notices about the alarm system prominently at doors and windows.”

     Lock all doors and windows:  “It sounds obvious, but people in a rush to head off can easily forget to close a window or secure a door,” Mick Rumble said. If possible, fit deadlocks to main doors and windows, as these create hurdles for a would-be burglar.

     Create a lived in look: While away, make sure your home still looks ‘lived in’.

Leave a pair of shoes at the back door, water in the dog’s bowl and hang some towels on the washing line.

Make sure a trusted neighbour or family member collects mail and regularly adjusts curtains and blinds, and swaps those towels on the washing line to different colours periodically.

“If possible, ask a friend or neighbour to regularly move any family cars that will be left in your driveway or outside your home, to suggest activity,” Mick Rumble said.

     Set timers: Timers are available from hardware stores and allow you to switch your TV or radio on at various times during the day and some lights on at night.

“Tune your radio to a talkback station so there’s the sound of many different voices,” Mick Rumble said.

‘If someone is snooping around, it will make it harder for them to know if someone is inside the house.’

     Sensor lights: These are another inexpensive deterrent that are useful throughout the year.

Install them at all external doorways.

     Secure the shed and garage: Put away and secure items like ladders, tools and gardening implements as these can assist in forced entry and make sure the garage is locked.

If your garage has windows, cover them so burglars cannot see inside.

Store away any valuable outdoor items, such as bicycles and the barbecue.

     Turn down the phone: An endlessly ringing phone can be a give-away that there’s no one home.

Turn down the volume, and make sure the voice message gives no clue that you’ve gone on holidays.

     Spare keys: These should be left only with a trusted family member, friend or neighbour.

“Don’t keep them under a flower pot or a door mat,” Mick Rumble said.

“A burglar will easily find them.”

“Our offices around Australia have helped people buy or sell thousands of homes around the country this year,” Mick Rumble said.

“We’d like to think that by taking some simple precautions all homes will stay safe during the summer holiday season.”

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