As the holidays roll around, many of us will be eager to switch off our laptops, pack our cars, and kick back and relax as we leave our homes behind to begin a well-deserved break.
But as exciting as it is to take a vacation, the thought of leaving our homes unattended is inevitably worrying. One way we can ease the unnecessary stress is to plan ahead and take a few simple precautions to help ensure our homes are protected. Here’s how to help keep burglars at bay while away.
Tighten up on security.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research, an estimated 2.1 per cent of Australian households experienced at least one attempted break-in between 2016 to 2017. For almost half of those households, the most common evidence of attempted break-in was damage to or tampering with doors or windows. That’s why one of the most crucial priorities before taking off is making sure your home security is up to date and working properly. Delaying intruders is vital. So be sure to secure locks on windows, deadbolts, gates and garages, and turn on your alarm system to deter burglars from seeing any opportunity of breaking into your home.
Don’t flaunt your valuables.
If you have valuables in your home, it’s easy to forget to move them away from windows or hide them from being in the background of photos you post on social media. Make sure to close your blinds enough to keep them out of sight from peeping toms - and if you can, store them in a safe. According to crime and justice statistics from the NSW Bureau of Statistics and Research, valuables like jewellery and cash are the most common items stolen in a burglary, so if you can install a quality safe in your home for added security, it’s a great idea to do so. Keep in mind that most thieves know that a safe will contain valuables, so consider installing a decoy safe to trick robbers.
Don’t broadcast your holiday.
As exciting as it is to go away on vacation, refrain from broadcasting it to your entire social network. As soon as you post a comment or photo on social media about your trip away, you’re announcing to the entire World Wide Web that your home is empty. Don’t give too much information away about your holiday or the duration of your stay (or more like the duration of an unattended home). Instead, reserve those Insta-worthy holiday snaps for when you return.
Make friends with your neighbours.
Becoming friends with the neighbours is mutually beneficial. However, in this day and age, it’s not something people typically do. But if you are lucky enough to have a kind and helpful neighbour, ask them if it’s not too much trouble to collect your mail while you’re away, bring the bins in and out, and keep their eyes peeled for any leaflets or newspapers left on your doorstep. A great idea is to allow them and their guests to park in your driveway, that way it looks like someone is home – they’ll most likely admire you even more for the extra car space.
Establish a clear line of sight.
A robbery will more than likely occur if the entry points to your home are obstructed by bushes or trees, because burglars lavish in the thought of privacy while committing their crime. An easy way to deter them from targeting your home is by establishing a clear line of sight from the house to the street, encouraging natural surveillance from onlookers and neighbours. Remove any bushes or large plants that block the view of any entry points so that it makes your house a harder target to rob.
Deceive and deter.
An empty home is every burglar’s dream. That’s why, making it look like you’re home -even if you’re not - is one of the best things you can do to deter them. Install sensor lights around your property that switch on and off when they sense movement. Leave a small lamp on, or invest in an hour power timer so that you can set lights to turn on at night.
Take necessary precautions.
Conduct a thorough sweep of your property, and do an outside clean-up. Remove anything that could assist burglars in their mission to break into your house. This includes locking away tools, gardening equipment, shovels, loose bricks or ladders that could be used to break windows or climb into your home. Put all the tools away so they don’t get stolen, and ensure to lock gates and fasten fences.
Get your insurance sorted.
Many criminals looking to steal from homes are after an opportunity. By following these simple guidelines you’ll be removing most of the opportunity for theft. However, in the case burglars are incredibly determined and you do become a victim of robbery, make sure you have an insurance policy in place – such as home and contents insurance – that can cover your valuable home and contents and any damage caused from a break-in.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 772 AFSL 227681 trading as CGU Insurance. In arranging this insurance Defence Bank Limited (Defence Bank) acts under its own AFSL and under an agreement with the insurer. Defence Bank receives commission when selling CGU insurance products. Please refer to Defence Bank’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for details of these commissions. The relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) should be referred to when making a decision to acquire any insurance product. The FSG and relevant PDS and TMD are available by calling 1800 033 139 or visiting any Defence Bank Branch. The information contained in this brochure is general advice only as it has not taken into account you financial situation, objectives or needs.
Important note: This information is of a general nature and is not intended to be relied on by you as advice in any particular matter. You should contact us at Defence Bank to discuss how this information may apply to your circumstances.