Whether it is a trip to the seaside or the bush, going on holiday can leave your home or business vulnerable to attack.
“Statistics clearly show that criminal activity increases during the holiday season and it is therefore imperative for home and business owners to take the right precautions and not let their guard down,” says Richard McGhee, sales and marketing director of ADT Security.
Before going away on holiday, Trellidor suggests:
Assess your home’s current security. Check that every door and window is secured with security gates or window barriers that aren’t damaged or corroded. In the long run it’s cheaper to replace security systems than stolen goods.
Invest in layers of security. High quality expandable security doors and burglar bars should be your first security layer. As finances allow, add further layers such as good perimeter security, burglar alarms, movement sensors, panic buttons and armed response. Remember to notify your neighbours if you are going away.
Be disciplined about using your home security devices. Close and lock your garage door. Keep security gates locked at all times and set your alarm. Ensure you have burglar proofing on all windows, no matter how small or inaccessible. Don’t leave tools conveniently lying around for opportunistic criminals. Stop any regular deliveries to your home well in advance of your holiday.
Don’t buy into the myth of housing estates being completely secure. Trellidor consultants are seeing increasing reports of break-ins at ‘secure’ complexes. Take responsibility for your own security rather than leaving it to the body corporate or homeowners’ association.
“Ensure that your alarm is in working order,” says McGhee. “People tend to forget that an alarm system, like a car, has parts that age and wear out and therefore should be serviced at least once a year.”
Thunderstorms can also wreak havoc on alarm systems; therefore they should be checked regularly.
“December is traditionally a busy period for security companies,” adds McGhee. “so you should try and test your alarm at least three weeks before going on holiday. Testing should be done outside of peak hours (between 8am and 4pm or after 8pm).”
Barry Brown, director of Marshall Security, a security company in Durban North, says don’t ignore the intercom. If the gate buzzer or intercom rings at any hour of the day or night you should still respond to it.
Brown says that some criminals use this as a method to check whether the occupants of the property are home. If it is ignored, an armed intruder may take that as an invitation to proceed to enter. If the intercom does not work, remove or repair it as soon as possible.