Silly Season Safety: Protecting Your Home

As much as most of us like to consider the festive season around Christmas and New Year’s a time of peace and goodwill, the sad fact of the matter is that crime rates actually spike around this time. In Australia, the silly season falls smack bang in the middle of summer, so it’s doubly likely that we’ll be away on holidays leaving our homes empty. It goes without saying that a good home insurance policy as well as a solid security system is vital, but there are some other tricks you can try too.

Strawberry
Photo: flickr.com/photos/hojusaram

Because the silly season brings with it so many opportunities for thieves and vandals, it’s a time where we have to be extra conscious of the little things we do each day—sometimes without even thinking about them—that keep our family safe. Here’s a guide to how you can keep safe and secure this silly season, and make sure that you keep all the presents under your tree for Christmas morning:

Holidays

A home whose residents have obviously gone away on holidays is a sitting duck for a would-be burglar, which is why summertime in Australia is such a gold mine of opportunity for criminals. With so many of us packing up and heading off to the beach for a break, there are so many more homes left unattended. There are a few things you can do to protect your home while you’re not there:


  • Install a timer system on your lights so that the house isn’t dark in the evenings.
  • Enlist the help of a trusted friend or neighbour to collect your mail and newspapers for you—stacked up mail is a clear sign to thieves that you’ve left the building!
  • Let a neighbour know that you’re leaving and ask if they could keep an eye on your house for you.
  • Instead of leaving your house vacant when you go on holidays, ask someone to housesit.

Presents

We rarely think about it, but most of us put our Christmas trees up near windows. We then proceed to decorate them with flashing lights and leave valuable goods in plain sight underneath it. To a burglar, this is the criminal equivalent of window-shopping! A well-lit tree which clearly shows all the things they could be stealing can be like a red rag to a bull—and don’t think a thief would have any compulsions about stealing your presents, either! To prevent attracting the attention of burglars, here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep your tree out of sight of the windows, or shut the curtains so it isn’t visible.
  • Leave your presents safely in cupboards until Christmas Eve—there’s far less chance of someone seeing them and getting ideas.
  • Make sure you keep the place secure when you’re entertaining around Christmas/New Year’s Eve. If you’re having a party in the backyard, make sure the house is locked, as this is another perfect chance for someone to slip in and out with an armful of your Christmas cheer!

Above all, a good home security system is the best way to keep your home and family safe over Christmas, but the less incentive you give thieves to enter, the less likely it will ever be given a test run.

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