According to ADT Security’s Secure Homes Report, 61% of householders are concerned about the safety of their homes when they go away on holidays with over 80% asking a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on their premises. Other popular holiday security measures included setting timers on lights and radios (32%) and activating a burglar alarm (27%).
“No one wants to get back from a holiday to find their home not the way they left it,” said ADT Security’s Mark Norton. “Many thieves see Christmas as an opportune time for criminal activity so it pays to take some time to evaluate security measures around the home.”
As householders find themselves away from home more than usual over the holiday season, Norton warns of the dangers of sharing your whereabouts with the wrong people.
“Summer is a time for socialising whether its end of year work parties, catching up with friends, Christmas Day with relatives or New Year’s Eve celebrations. People are sharing more and more personal information via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter but it’s important to think twice before publicising your location or details of your holiday plans – you never know who could be listening and may use the information to target your home.”
While a monitored alarm is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective deterrents, householders can enjoy further peace of mind and minimise their risk of break-and-enter by taking a few simple precautions.
ADT Security offers the following tips to help keep your home safe this summer:
· Inform your neighbours of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property and be sure to provide them with emergency contact details.
· Consider hanging old clothes on the line to give the impression someone is home or not away for an extended period of time.
· Avoid placing expensive gifts under the Christmas tree until close to the big day.
· Ask neighbours to put out your garbage bins on bin night (and offer to do the same in return for them when they need it).
· Lower the telephone ringing volume so that it cannot be heard from outside your home and avoid leaving a recorded message indicating that you are away on holidays.
· Make sure children don’t reveal holiday plans to strangers or online at websites such as Facebook or My Space.
· Ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail or direct the Post Office to hold it until you return. It’s also a good idea to have a ‘no junk mail’ sign to avoid piles of catalogues building up.
· Ensure your house has good exterior lighting; it is preferable to install sensor lights at entry and exit points of the house, as light acts as a deterrent to thieves. If possible, time these outside lights to switch on automatically at night.
· Leave a car in the driveway, if possible, or arrange for a neighbour to keep a car there and move it around from time to time.
· Consider installing a monitored alarm system. While some people place their faith in an unmonitored alarm in the hope that it will deter intruders, these are unfortunately often ignored by neighbours, especially if they frequently go off.
If an alarm system is in place the following additional steps are recommended:
· Ensure your alarm is in working order and has been serviced within the last 12 months.
· Advise your security company that you are going away.
· If you are hiring a house sitter, make sure they know how to use your alarm.
· Ensure you have clear signage indicating that you have an alarm system to deter burglars.