Home safety during the holiday season

With the year quickly coming to an end and the December holidays looming around the corner, most of us have probably already planned or at least thought about your well-deserved break.

Unfortunately, before you can start packing those bags, there are a number of important things to consider and plenty of planning to be done. “With all the excitement, of the holiday season ahead, one can easily focus too much on where you will be going and forget about what you are leaving behind” cautions Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Even for those not actually going away on holiday – it is still worth taking note of the items below as we all know that December is a very popular time for criminals to be on the prowl.

• When leaving on holiday leave your home at a time when the street you live in is quiet – thus attracting less attention to the fact that your home will be unoccupied.

• Consider storing small valuable electronics at a neighbour’s home, if away.

• Community is very important. Arrange with trusted persons to frequent your home whilst you are away on holiday. Ensure that they know how the alarm works and whom to contact in an emergency.

• Use creativity to avoid letting your home look deserted when away. You could install a timer or sunlight sensor to switch on some lights while you are away.

• It is advisable to make photocopies of your ID book, passport and credit cards before going away on holiday. These copies can be certified (by bringing along the originals) at any Post Office or police station.

• Being in a holiday mood, one tends to let down their guard. Remain vigilant in protecting yourself, family and possessions. Few people need to know when you’ll leave or return. Misinformation is good.

• Tidiness deters crime. It shows organisation and pride, suggesting strong security.

• The police often find suspected stolen property in the possession of criminals. Be sure to make a record of the serial numbers of all your electronic goods and to keep photographs of your jewellery.

• Conduct a full inspection and test of all security systems a fortnight before going away on holiday. This gives you time to make repairs.

• It’s natural to feel fatigued and head straight home from the airport after a long holiday. Criminals know this too. This is perhaps your most vulnerable stage of the holiday. Keep valuables out of sight and be alert to anyone watching or following your after you leave the airport.   

“Whether you are going away, or staying at home this December, consider a few of the items mentioned above as it is always best to rather be over-prepared than under” concludes Craig.

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