Home Safety Tips for the Festive Season
It is that time of the year again where millions of South Africans will soon be heading to various holiday destinations across the country and abroad.
While the holidays are supposed to be a happy and carefree time there are tips you need to keep in mind before you leave your home in order to ensure that it is secure and that you don't find any unpleasant surprises once you return, says Steve van Wyk, Seeff's MD in Centurion.
Van Wyk offers the following tips:
1. Whenever possible find someone to live in your house while you are away. If this is not possible, create the illusion that someone is home. Ask a neighbour to open some curtains and windows during the day and to close them again at night.
2. Two giveaways that you are not home including outside lights that remain switched on during the day and accumulation of post or newspapers on your lawn or in your post-box. When criminals see these tell-tale signs it is clear that no- one is home and your house becomes a soft target. Ask a neighbour to pick up the post and newspapers while you are away and set a timer to switch the outside lights on at night time and to switch them off again in the morning. Set the timer in such a way that the lights don't all come on at the same time at night and switch off at the same time in the morning as this may raise suspicion.
3. If you are away for more than two weeks try to arrange someone to mow your lawn.
4. Close your water stopcock in case a pipe bursts.
5. When you are about to leave your home to go on holiday make a point of not loading your car where other people can see. Pull your car into the garage and load suitcases in your car boot behind closed doors rather than allowing people to see that you are about to leave for an extended period of time.
6. If you are a member of a security company let them know that you are leaving for a while so that they may patrol your home more often. If you do not belong to a security company, create the perception that you do by putting up security boards outside your home. You can even "install" fake cameras.
7. Ask your neighbours to keep a close eye on things and to report any strange activity around your home immediately.
8. Be careful of who you tell that you are going on holiday, also don't mention it on social media and if you do, make sure that your security settings don't allow for members from the public to see your status updates.
9. Lock away valuables in a safe or leave it with someone who you trust.
10. Do not leave any spare keys lying around, but if you absolutely have to leave a key for your domestic worker rather leave it with the neighbour.
Author: Tanya Van Buuren Botma