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When your home is alone


With the Christmas break rapidly approaching, many families are organising holidays away. Travel arrangements are sorted, bags are being packed, the pets will be looked after, but how do you safeguard your home while you’re away?

Here’s a last-minute checklist…

1. Mail:
If possible, stop mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a neighbour to collect your mail. Nothing screams “no one is home” louder than a stack of newspapers and letters overflowing from the letterbox. If there’s a likelihood that packages could arrive while you’re away, notify the delivery services to hold them so that your front door won’t be marked with delivery slips or packages. And, under no circumstance, post “take all deliveries to our next-door neighbour” on your door!

2. Gardens:
If trees or bushes block the view of any windows or doors, trim them back. Homes that are set back a distance from the street and/or have heavy, concealing foliage are more likely to be a burglar’s welcome target. If you’re going to be away more than two weeks, arrange to have the lawns mowed.

3. Answering Machine:
Don’t leave a message on your answering machine telling the world you’re gone. A generic message like “we can’t come to the phone right now” sends fewer adverse signals than “we’re not home” or “we’re on vacation in Bali”.

4. Valuable Items:
Put small valuables and credit cards you won’t be taking in a safe or leave with a friend or relative. If possible, move larger valuables (like sound systems, computers etc.) to a friend or relative’s home. If you can’t do this, make sure your valuables are engraved with serial numbers and give a list of numbers to a friend or relative.

5. Lights & Curtains:
Use timers on several lights throughout the house so they switch on and off automatically. If possible, place at least one outside light on a timer as well. Leave curtains opened slightly, especially on upper floors that aren’t easily visible.

6. Windows and Doors:
Check all windows (especially on the ground floor) to make sure there are no broken panes or loose latches. Deadbolts on exterior doors do deter burglars, as do “Beware of Dog” signs. If you have an extra door key hidden under an outside mat or rock, move it. If it’s easy for you to get to, it’s equally easy for a thief.

7. Neighbours:
Entire households of furniture have been known to be loaded in moving vans and driven away during a homeowner’s absence. Notify at least one neighbor of your trip and leave them with a way to contact you in case of emergency. Trusted neighbours might also be able to hold a key – you don’t want to come back to litres of water all over the floor if the hot water system bursts while you’re away.

If you follow this checklist you’ll have greater peace of mind that your home and possessions will be safe, sound and less likely to catch the attention of a burglar while you’re off having a great time.

Source: Echo News


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