It’s the most wonderful time of the year, where we Aussies like to spend time away with friends and family, making the most of summer.
It’s also one of the most wonderful times of the year for thieves, sneaking around the suburbs taking advantages of all those empty homes while you relax on the beach, explore an overseas city, or visit family in another state.
There are a number of things you can do leading up to your Christmas and New Years holiday that can help retain that “lived-in” look at your house, making it harder for criminals to conclusively decide that your home is empty and therefore more appealing (and easier!) to target.
Ask a trusted friend to help you out
- Put out and bring in your garbage bins
- Remove mail from your letterbox
- Walk and feed the dog
- Do a casual “drive-by” every few days
You could also ask a friend if they would like to housesit. This mightn’t necessarily be for every night that you’re away, but a random night every other day might throw someone who’s looking out for measurable or repetitive patterns and behaviour.
If your friend can’t or doesn’t want to housesit, consider asking, if it’s convenient for them, if they could even leave their car out the front of your house or in your driveway every other day. Even if it’s just for a few hours, anyone monitoring the house will certainly notice the randomness of it. That might be enough to turn them off.
As we previously mentioned in this blog post, people monitoring your home can also do this sneaky little trick: they act as a salesperson, placing a flyer in your screen door or under your welcome mat. They then visit your home each day afterwards to see how long it takes for the flyer to disappear. If you can, get a friend (or a couple of friends) to take turns driving by your home every day.
Keep quiet on social media
Most of us take online security seriously – we wouldn’t openly post our credit card numbers or home addresses on the internet, would we? That sounds preposterous. But some people are unintentionally telling would-be thieves exactly what they want to hear, through that latest Instagram post from the beach in Florida or that Facebook status complaining about your flight delay at Berlin airport.
“I’m not friends with thieves,” you scoff. But what you mightn’t realise is that if you haven’t recently reviewed your privacy settings on your favourite social networks, you could be inadvertently sharing personal information with more than just your friends.
Prepare the locks. Do you need replacement locks at home?
Naturally, we wouldn’t leave the house unlocked when we leave, regardless if that’s to a hairdressing appointment around the corner or a three-week holiday on the other side of the country.
Home security is only as good as the locks securing your doors and windows. Consider every entry point: garage, gates, back door, screen door, and all windows.
Are you wary that your current locks are not as secure as they could (or should) be? A residential locksmith can provide peace of mind and provide replacement locks your home.
Ensure your house is visible from the street
We go into a lot more detail in this blog post, but there is a strong debate whether fences deter or assist a burglar. From one point of view, a tall fence limits what a burglar can see from the outside, but once inside, it protects them as they inspect your home.
Clean up bushes and shrubbery before you leave
Get your gardener to pay a visit to your home in the days leading up to your departure to ensure that lawns, bushes, and shrubs are neat.
More great security tips
Use timers indoors
Set timers to turn on for a couple of hours in the evening and off right before you’d usually go to sleep.
Get a sensor light
Most homes have these, and the sudden flood of light can quickly instil panic in a thief. Thieves like to work unnoticed, and shoving them into the spotlight might be enough to force them to flee.
Be subtle when packing the car
If you have a garage, be sure to load up the car in there, away from prying eyes. And while it might be a time-saver to pack the car the night before, avoid leaving your car exposed overnight, as this could encourage car break-ins.
Don’t say more than you need on your answering machine
Don’t bother re-recording a new message for your answering machine.
People don’t need to know that you’re away. Instead of saying “We’re away over Christmas and will be back on the…”, keep it generic: “We can’t get to the phone right now” is simple and says all you need.
You might also consider turning down the ringing volume of your phone, especially if you don’t have voice recording functionality.
The scary thing is that many home invasions are not random or spur-of-the-moment. It’s likely a thief has been keeping a close eye on your house for some days or weeks, studying your day-to-day patterns, observing when you leave for and arrive home from work, and noting what your weekends typically look like.
Random patterns are harder to follow, so while you’re away, enforce a more unpredictable schedule for a variety of friends or family members who are helping you out. This might be enough to deter any would-be thieves who are keeping a close eye on your home. Bottom line is: don’t make it easy for them!
Peace of mind security from a locksmith in Melbourne
If you’re concerned that your home’s security is not up to scratch, contact Galmier Locksmiths. Galmier is a local locksmith servicing Melbourne and Bayside, ready to protect you as we enter this exciting holiday season. Contact Alex now!