As South Australians finalise plans to enjoy the Easter break, Crime Stoppers SA has warned people that a few basic security precautions around the home as part of getaway preparations can go a long way towards keeping thieves at bay and property protected.
Crime Stoppers SA Chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said: “Going on holidays is supposed to be fun, and you don’t want to spend the entire time on edge worrying whether you’ve done enough to securely protect your home from becoming a likely target for thieves.”
Crime Stoppers SA recommends the following tips for home owners to consider:
Lock up before you leave
It might sound like a no-brainer, but unlocked windows and doors continue to be the biggest security weakness for many burgled Australian homes. Take time to double-check that all windows and doors are locked, and make sure that sheds, garage doors, and side gates are all locked too. If you’ve got an electricity meter box in plain sight, consider putting a temporary lock on that too to discourage potential thieves from shutting down or re-directing your power supply.
Consider a home security system
When it comes to choosing a home security system, it can be as simple or as complex as you want. Options range from an intruder alarm that covers entry points like windows and doors, through to a security alarm system with motion sensors that covers a home and garage. The tech-savvy might even want to opt for a closed-circuit camera to film any unwelcome guests that can be accessed via a smartphone app that sends an alert when an intruder is detected.
And if you already have a security system, check to make sure it is working properly, and remember to turn it on!
Hide away spare keys
Plenty of people leave spare house keys tucked away in a plant pot or under the mat, but thieves know that these are the most likely hiding places. Give a spare set of keys to someone you trust instead.
If you have any cars at home while you’re away, it is always a good idea to hide the keys to prevent thieves making off with your vehicle too.
Install outdoor sensor lights
Because outdoor sensor lights are activated by movement, they are a great way to spotlight any would-be thief lurking in the shadows. Being illuminated for neighbours and passers-by to see is a sure way to deter burglars – but put sensor lights to the test before heading away.
Think about roller shutters
Roller shutters might be expensive, but they are a great way to fortify your home against intruders. Not only do they prevent all access inside, they also keep the contents of your home hidden from potential thieves.
Arrange mail and newspaper deliveries
Consider asking a trusted neighbour to collect any mail while you’re away, and suspend any newspaper delivery to avoid any pile-ups in your front yard because it shows that you’re not likely to be home.
Have light timers
A dark house is a sure-fire giveaway that you’re not at home, so invest in some light timers to turn your lights on and off at intervals while you’re gone to give a place that lived-in look.
Opt for a house- or pet-sitter
If your four-legged friend isn’t going away with you, consider having a friend or family member stay at your home while you’re away. Not only will they take care of any pets, it is the best way to secure your home against theft because it will still be occupied, and they can collect the mail, pick up newspapers, and put out bins if needed.
Put away any outdoor equipment
While a thief might leave your house contents intact, outdoor belongings may still be an attractive prize – so put away valuable outdoor equipment and furniture, solar panel lights, sports gear and toys, and bicycles.
It is a good idea to lock away any ladders or bins because they can be used to enter your home from a higher position, and don’t leave tools or garden implements laying around because an opportunistic thief can use them to smash their way inside.
Make a record
Despite taking the very best of precautions, sometimes homes still fall victim to the bad guys, so prepare for any eventuality by having an inventory of all your property, with photographs, engravings, marks and any other relevant details.
Not only will it make property harder to sell, it will make things easier to trace and help any home insurance claim that you might have to make. Consider marking items with your name and/or your driver’s licence number, and remember to record details of a manufacturer, model name or number, and any serial number of your most prized possessions.
Don’t forget that the MyWheels app – powered by Crime Stoppers – is free to download and the perfect solution to capturing all your vehicle data, accessories, insurance details, and even photos!