Tips to keep your house safe while you’re on holiday

Over the next few weeks we will be publishing some tips to help you stay safe over the festive season.

In our first installment is around keeping your home safe while you’re away from holiday.

Ballito Neighbourhood Watch keeping Ballito Safe.

Check your household insurance

Make sure you have the cover you need and that it remains valid while you are away. While
buying an adequate level of cover for your possessions may seem obvious, are there any
exclusions in your policy that says that items like laptops, handbags or spectacles are not
covered? Check all of this beforehand and increase it accordingly.

First prize is to get a housesitter, failing that, follow these steps:

Don’t leave your house looking unoccupied

Mow the lawn before you leave.
Bring in washing from the line, and from drying racks that can be seen through windows.
Leave curtains and blinds open – nothing reveals that a house is unoccupied so much as
curtains drawn during the day.
Ask a neighbour to remove free newspapers, post and free refuse bags from your gate and
Ask your neighbour to water your pot plants, too. This won’t just keep them healthy for your
return but will stop them appearing wilted and indicating an absent owner.
Install a light on a timer switch that comes on in the evening.

Keep your valuables safe

Keep valuables out of sight and don’t leave them where they can be seen through a window.
If you intend to conceal valuables in your home, avoid obvious hiding places such as your sock
drawer, in a fake food can in the kitchen – burglars are wise to this trick – and in the freezer,
unless you are prepared to wrap absolutely everything in foil to make your jewellery totally
indistinguishable from your food. Your best bet is not to leave anything you would hate to lose in the house at all, but if you must, then in order to save most of your treasure, your second-best bet is to distribute it around several locations that are difficult to reach, and leave a pile of money and some inexpensive items in a more obvious place.
Given that most burglars are opportunists and their motive is generally to get in, get something
of value and then get out as fast as possible, your intruder might be encouraged to leave after
finding your fake hoard rather than ripping the house apart in the hope of finding the real deal.

Don’t tell everyone you’re on holiday

Don’t tell people outside immediate friends and family that you are going away or for how long.
But make sure that you tell your immediate neighbours so that they can keep an eye on the
house for you. Certainly, you should not brag about your upcoming holiday on social media such as Facebook or Twitter – you don’t know who can read your comments, or who they will tell.

Enjoy your holiday!