Every year you hear of tips to secure your home during the ‘silly’ season. And every year a myriad of break-ins, accidents & damage to homes happen en-masse over the December holiday period. You may be overwhelmed by having your lovely monsters home from school for 6 weeks, or all the build-up of events during December may mean that you’re not paying attention to the usual home care, so it’s advisable to start preparing your home & family early for what’s to come!
Going on holiday
Whatever you wish to get done over the holidays you have to start preparing for in October/November. EVERYTHING gets booked up during December, so if you’re planning to install security products, start booking it early.
- Alert your armed response/alarm monitoring company that you will be out of town and whether you will have anybody looking in on your home while away.
- Try to get somebody you trust to look in on your home & collect mail if you’ll be away a while.
- Naturally, don’t leave pets unattended.
- Turn off the ringer on your telephone, so it’s not obvious that it’s going unanswered.
- Do NOT advertise to the world that you’re going on holiday – avoid Facebook updates in particular here. Your information may be available to the wrong people. Brag about your holiday after you get back!
- While on holiday, don’t assume that the place you’re staying in is crime-free either. Behave sensibly, as you would at home.
Home for the holidays
- First-aid kit (build your own! It’s cheaper!)
- Fire extinguisher & smoke detector (under R200 each at stores like Makro)
- Safe & robust children’s toys & activities (to keep them away from getting bored & digging around the more dangerous household items)
- Numbers of all emergency services in case of accidents. Put these somewhere obvious & educate your family about their use.
Many break-ins happen over the busy festive period, as people relax their security awareness while busy with festive preparations.
- If you don’t have burglar bars, get them.
- Consider putting burglar bars or smash-proof film on your non-opening windows too, as burglars have been known to use rocks to smash right through.
- Light up! You can get relatively cheap outdoor lights from most big stores selling home improvement products. Lights limit dark areas on your property which are attractive to burglars.
- Keep security gates locked, even when at home.
- Cut away dense foliage at your walls which may be used by burglars as leverage/hiding space.
- Get to know your neighbours better (they’ll look out for you in case of emergency!)
- Be extra vigilant during parties, as the swarms of people coming and going often mean that opportunists can sneak in & nab items without notice. Home security can be unpleasant to think about & spend money on, but spending a bit of time & money on prevention beats dealing with the unhappiness later. So prepare now & enjoy the holiday season!