Holiday break ins: Protect your property

The threat of burglary can often escalate at Christmas time, and in the days following up to New Years, when many are away holidaying or spending their nights at relatives homes, and property owners should be aware of the risks and potential mitigation, warns Angus Raine, executive chairman and CEO of Raine & Horne.

While surveillance has helped in recent times, there are still a number of precautions that often get overlooked by tenants and home owners alike.

Ensuring doors have high-quality locks, such as deadlocks, as well as ensuring windows have keyed locks or security grills, should be on your list, said Raine.

“If your home has sliding doors or windows, a simple metal or wooden rod wedged in the cavity can prevent them being opened from the outside," he said.

For those with the time, installing a security alarm and locking up the power box to prevent tampering with the system, including security lights and ensuring gates are locked and gaps in fences are repaired can help.

Also presenting an image that the home is occupied over the period can be a simple yet helpful deterrent.

“Leaving blinds or curtains in normal positions and installing a sensor light to flick on when someone approaches can ward off aspiring intruders,” he said.

“Set a timer to switch on your lights and a radio or television at different times, while hanging some old clothes on the line and leaving a pair of shoes at the front door are other ways to give the impression your home is occupied.”

He also said that home owners should turn down the ring tone on their home phone so that when it rings out, it won’t be obvious to those around. Leaving a message on the answering machine or voicemail telling those who call you are away is also not a good idea.

“You should also suspend newspaper or magazine subscriptions during your absence,” he said, for those gone for longer periods of time.

Trustworthy neighbours can also be good allies – looking out for unusual behaviour and also putting your bins out or moving your mail as necessary.

The following tips can be applied all year round, said Raine.

  • Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places;
  • Put small valuables such as cash or jewellery in a safe deposit box;
  • Mark or engrave valuables with your driver’s licence number and keep a list and photographs of them;
  • Keep home and contents insurance up-to-date.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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