Seven common mistakes we make when leaving the house
IF YOU'RE planning to go away for a couple of days or a couple of weeks it's wise to consider how secure your home is.
Here's a list of the common mistakes people make when they walk out the door, and how to stop them from happening:
Leaving the house clearly empty: If all your lights are off, you have a stack of newspapers outside, letters haven't been collected and your rubbish bins are still on the road, it's telling burglars you've gone away and they have plenty of time to break in. Avoid this by organising for someone to collect your mail and take in the bins, or by asking the post office to hold your mail, and using timers on lights, radios etc so it looks like someone is inside.
It looks like a goldmine: Leaving expensive cars out, expensive items visible from the windows or even high quality toys in the backyard may put your home on the radar. If you have expensive items visible from a window, move the items or consider partially shutting the blinds.
Security flaws: If your home is easy to break into it's an easy target for burglars. Good security means a burglar will need to take time and a lot of effort to find a way in. Use the deadlock on your door and bolts on the sliding doors and windows. A fake alarm system if you can't afford a real one is a great deterrent as well.
Failing to tell people you trust that you've gone away: Before you leave town make sure you let a neighbour or friend know. A neighbour can collect your mail daily but if you don't have a trusted neighbour, seek a friend who would be willing to check in regularly.
Leaving unnecessary powerpoints on: Turn off the switches for your TV, toaster, microwave, coffee maker, computers etc to protect against electrical fires. Only leave on the light and/or radio timers.
Curtains - open or closed: It's best to leave them as you would usually keep them when you're home. If leaving blinds or curtains open, ensure lit rooms aren't in view. If you usually keep blinds open, perhaps consider leaving some partially closed in rooms with expensive items.
Keep the spare key out: A burglar may look under that odd-looking plastic rock or the mat for the spare key. So if you are going away, put it inside until you return.
Sources: comparethemarket.com.au; CPR Insurance Services; Allianz