With the rise of the share economy offering a number of new accommodation options to suit every budget, as well as great travel offers, many Australians will be travelling in their home state, interstate and overseas over the summer period. By taking a few precautions before you embark on a holiday, it can put your mind at ease and let you enjoy yourself, worry free. Security expert and founder of Australia’s highest rated security monitoring centre, Calamity, Daniel Lewkovitz shares 10 tips on how to keep your house safe while you’re away.

home safety

Make friends with your neighbours
Becoming friends with the neighbours is mutually beneficial. However, it’s not something people typically do these days. Ask a neighbour to collect mail for you while you’re away – as well as to keep an eye out for any leaflets or newspapers left on your doorstep. A neighbour parking in your driveway also signals someone is home (and they will appreciate the extra car space).

Upgrade your defence
One of the more obvious tips is to make sure your security is up to date. Recent ABS research found 60% of victims’ security had been compromised due to a faulty deadlock or loose window frame that was easily jemmied open. Delaying intrusion is important. The longer it takes to break the exterior, the safer your house will be. Particularly if an alarm is triggered and the would-be thief is racing against the clock before a responder arrives.

Don’t help conceal a thief
Burglars like privacy. They can be deterred from targeting your house by establishing a clear line of sight from the house to the street. This encourages “natural surveillance” and makes your home a harder target. Remove any bushes or shrubs near an entrance that could help a thief be hidden from a passer-by’s view.

Avoid Climbing Points
Criminals know that first-floor and above doors and windows are typically less secure than ground-level entry points. Toeholds such as external air-conditoners and (ironically) window grilles can help criminals gain access to upper levels. High-rise apartment dwellers are not immune. While you may think you live twelve stories up, you are only really one storey above the balcony below yours. Your security is still important.

Alarm and Monitor your home from wherever you are.
Alarms are a no-brainer. However, some people believe a siren is enough. Even though you’re now friends with your neighbours thanks to Tip #1, when your alarm is triggered you cannot rely on others, which is why a monitored system is best, Modern IP Monitored security systems allow homeowners to arm and disarm their alarm system, remotely open doors for visitors and even view cameras from their smartphone wherever they are. Not only is this an excellent security improvement it is also a lifestyle benefit. Imagine sitting around the pool on holiday somewhere but still being able to let in a delivery of this month’s pet food, or the gardener.

Don’t advertise your valuables
If you have expensive items in plain sight you might as well be shouting “We have money!” to the world. Make sure to conceal any valuable or expensive items by keeping the blinds closed or moving them away from windows. When you unbox this year’s Christmas presents, consider what to do with the packaging.

Store valuables in a safe
The most common targets in a robbery are money and jewellery. By installing a quality safe in your house, you can provide extra security for those more valuable items. Just remember, criminals know the bedroom safe likely has the jewellery in it. Consider using that as a decoy and installing a better safe somewhere they won’t look. Cheap safes sold at hardware stores are very easily forced open and not worth the money.

Forget traditional alarm systems and use “IP monitoring”
Move away from a traditional telephone based alarm service that can be disconnected with the cut of a pair of scissors. Choose security systems which connect to a monitoring station via the Internet and mobile networks. These cannot be compromised by a perpetrator and are NBN friendly. You don’t even need a phoneline any more. Make sure any monitoring provider is ‘graded’ by ASIAL (asial.com.au) or avoid them.

Guard your keys
It is well known that you should not hide keys on the outside of the house. But you should also be aware of the risks involved when lending your keys to tradespeople and acquaintances. Keys are easily copied and can provide burglars with an easy access to your property. Consider an electronic locking system or a ‘restricted key’ system which makes this more difficult. If your house is broken into, immediately change the locks. Your insurer likely includes this in the policy.

Don’t share your free house and cool gifts on social media
Stop over sharing. Posting photos of your wonderful holiday to social media might seem like a no brainer but advertising that you’re away from home can result in unwelcome visitors. Similarly pictures of all your belongings. If you overshare your private information to the public on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (a completely public network) people will be able to easily compile data including where you live and when your house is free. Beware of inadvertent location tagging in photos.

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© 2016 The Home
This post was written by security monitoring centre, Calamity.