Six ways to protect your home from a break-in
HOME burglaries are unsettling at any time, but with the holiday season approaching, experts are warning of potential for a sharp rise in such crimes.
According to home security expert Natasha Morgan, founder of My Home Watch, said the lead-up to the holiday season was a busy time for most households - with holidays, celebrations and parties meaning homes could be susceptible to break-ins.
She has a six-point checklist for homeowners to consider before they leave their homes unattended.
Maintain your gardens and lawn
A sure sign that noone's home is a poorly maintained yard, she said. "Arrange to have a property specialist take care of your garden needs and let your lawn mowing man or gardener into your yard."
But she warned that the least number of people with access to your property and keys the better.
Tighten your security
Your locks, deadlocks, screens, security doors and shutters are not just for show - use them, she said. "Police see so many people thinking if their garage door is locked they don't need to deadlock the door leading into their home or windows and screens left opened and unlocked."
A good way to check security was to get a local locksmith in to advise where improvements could be made.
Let there be light
Timer lighting or motion-activated lighting help make a house look lived-in. "A well-lit house is far less attractive to a criminal than a dark, empty-looking house."
Don't tell every man and their dog you're leaving
Before spreading the word about your holiday, "stop, slow down and really think about what kind of repercussions it could have to the security of your home". Co-ordinate with a property specialist over who will be required to have access to your home.
Consider installing security cameras
Smart devices are significantly cheaper these days, "from door bells with cameras inside of them to wire-free smart home security systems that are set up in ten minutes and you self-monitor through your mobile phones". She said putting security cameras in and around a home should be a high priority.
Make the changes
She said make changes to your home if you have been broken into before. "Thieves looked for no cars in the driveway, no lights on in the evening, no response to a knock on the door, rubbish bins left out, piled up mail in the mailbox or similar indications that no one was at home."