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Home Security over Summer

Source: Professionals, Hutt City Ltd
06 December 2012

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With the summer season here, it’s time to take the much needed family holiday. You have packed your bags, booked your flights and accommodation and checked the cat into the local cattery. But.., there is one more important factor you need to consider when going away… home security.

Your home is likely to be your most valuable asset and personal possessions are highly valued as well. The thought of returning from your summer vacation to find someone has broken in is something no one likes to consider. There are some key steps and preparations that can be taken, to scare off intruders before it’s too late! You need your home to look “lived in” even if you are only going away for a week or so. Here are some tips…

• Put a lamp on an automatic timer to come on just before dark and go off late in the evening. 
• Keep blinds and curtains partly open – if you have net curtains draw these and leave the window drapes open. If possible, tilt blinds in the 
bedrooms so at night they appear to be closed. 

• Lock away all portable garden tools, equipment and ladders that could be used to break into your home. 

• Do not leave the spare key “hidden” under the front mat or in the pot plant at the back door (note: the back of your house can be more vulnerable than the front). If you need to leave a key, leave one with a trusted person (e.g. a neighbour, friend or family member).

• Cancel your newspaper delivery, or tell your neighbour to help themselves to the paper each morning when it appears on your driveway. Ask them to clear the letterbox as a full letterbox is a giveaway that you are away.

• Ask your neighbours to park their car on your driveway at random times while you are away. If you know them well enough, you could even ask them to hang their washing on your line. 

• Arrange for a gardener to cut your lawns if away for more than two weeks. 

• Leave a radio on quietly in the main living area of the house. Again, you could place this on a timer so it is on during the day and turns off at night.
• Install an intruder alarm and either ask your neighbour to check the property should it go off, or pay the security company to attend a call out should it be activated in your absence. If an alarm is something you cannot install, you can purchase stickers to say your home is protected by an alarm. You can also purchase a “dummy” alarm box to be installed near your front door or in a very visible location. 

• Do not leave valuables such as cameras, handbags, jewelry boxes or money on show in any windows. It is worthwhile leaving your house in a lived in manner rather than tidying it from floor to ceiling. When going away, people tend to leave their homes very tidy. Leave a few mugs on the coffee table, a pair of shoes thrown next to the couch, a few children’s toys on the floor in the bedroom or a washing basket in the hallway. 

Please remember, if your neighbours have gone away over summer, keep an eye on their property. Report any suspicious behaviour. If cars are looming outside the house, jot down the car make, model and registration number. Once you have given yourself a bit more peace of mind by following the above tips, you can jet off on your travels knowing your house has a better chance of not being broken into and have a great holiday!