Right, with Christmas behind us, it’s time to jump in the car and head off somewhere that isn’t home. Last thing you want to be doing is worrying about what will happen back home to your property, so here’s some handy tips to secure it.
1. Alert the neighbors
Tell your neighbors when you will be away, where you will be going, and give them a contact number. They can keep an eye on your property and report any suspicious behavior.
2. Clear that letterbox
Cancel newspaper subscriptions. You can ask the neighbors to clear your letterbox, or contact NZ Post to have your mail held if your going to be away for a long period. Junk mail can be a problem – you may like to consider adding a sticker to the letterbox to prevent unsolicited mail.
3. Shine a light
Don't leave your house in the dark at night. Put a lamp on a timer so it looks as though someone is home.
4. Blinds up
It is recommended that you leave the curtains open and the blinds pulled up.
5. Ring ring
Turn down the ringer on your phone. If no one is answering a ringing phone it's a sure sign there's nobody at home.
6. Locked and closed
It goes without saying that all windows, including those small high ones, should be closed, and doors locked. Make sure garages and garden sheds are also locked. Ladders and tools that could be used to break into the house need to be stored away. Leave a spare key with a neighbor, not hidden under a stone where it can be found easily.
7. No notes
Never leave notes on the door. These may draw unwanted attention from the street.
8. Delay those holiday snaps
Police suggest you don't post pictures of your holiday on social media until after you are home. There have been increasing instances of homes being burgled following such posts.
If you'd like to post photos and show everyone where you are we'd suggest using privacy settings to manage who can see them.
9. Garden watch
If you have been cultivating a kitchen garden that needs regular watering, arrange to have someone give the garden a good soak every second day. Pot plants, also, will need to be watered. Trim greenery - Keep trees and shrubs trimmed, especially when these are close to the house
10. Be proactive
If you don't already have a house alarm, consider getting one. It will probably reduce your home / contents insurance premium, and will help to deter burglars. But NZ Police says an alarm is only a back-up for good locks – it will detect an intruder but won't always keep the burglar out.
Sensor-activated outdoor security lights are also good deterrents. Wireless CCTV cameras are another way to deter would-be criminals.
NZ Police also recommend you identify and mark your valuables, and take photographs of portable items that are more likely to be picked up by an intruder.
Keep these tips in mind before you head off and have a happy, but safe break.