Keep your home safe over the holidays
SHEDS AND GARAGES
Don't forget to lock up the shed, garage, and side gates as well. Sheds and garages are inviting to thieves as they are seldom used or locked. If you can possibly avoid it, do not use a shed to store valuable items.
Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. Sliding windows that are not secure can be seen from a distance. One holiday problem can occur when exterior extension cords for Christmas lights are run inside through a window, preventing it from being secured. Hire an electrician or handyman to install an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights.
Pull the plug. Disconnecting the power to some of your electronics, like your desktop computer, coffee pot and television can save you money while you're gone and eliminate the worry that you've accidentally left them on by mistake. Turning off your garage door is also an effective way to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.
Insurance brings peace of mind. Identify your belongings, both at home and at work. Take photos of your valuable belongings, or keep a register of important items (make, models, and serial numbers). A walk-through of your house with a video camera, detailing items in cupboards, will keep your insurance company very happy indeed. Just remember to keep your photos, video tape, or register secure, locked away in a safe is the ideal place.
ALARMS – BE LOUD AND PROUD
Let thieves know that you have an alarm. A prominent security sign or sticker is an effective visual deterrent, thieves would rather attempt to rob a home without an alarm, than with one.
Most home burglaries occur during the day and knocking on a door is the simplest way for a criminal to establish whether anyone is at home. Asking about a fictitious person or whether you have seen a certain dog are examples of the kinds of excuses they use for being on your property. If you don't think it’s right, call the police and let neighbours know too.
Police advise that people should call 111 only in emergencies, and to report non-emergency incidents to local police stations.
A LIVED-IN LOOK
Mow your lawn just before you leave, so that it looks recently cared for. Use automatic light timers for lights to fool burglars that you’re home. If you can, get a neighbour to take out your rubbish and recycling and put the bins back after pickup, it’s another way to send the message that everything is proceeding normally at your house.
REMOVE YOUR SPARE KEY
That plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away, it’s likely that they will check your porch for a spare key. So reach under the mat, into the mailbox, above the door frame or into the flower pot, and remove your spare key before you leave.
Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window if it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for thieves to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages. Discard any signs that you have expensive items in the house. After Christmas day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes on the street for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal.
STOP MAIL AND NEWSPAPER DELIVERY
Arrange with the post office and newspaper service to have your mail and newspaper placed on hold, or arrange to have a friend or neighbour pick up your mail while you’re away.