Summer Security Tips: Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away
Millions of people across Australia look forward to their summer holidays as a chance to kick back, spend quality time with friends and family, and take a hard-earned rest.
Unfortunately, however, opportunistic burglars eagerly await summer as well – as it presents them with a prime opportunity to break into unoccupied properties. With everyone out of the house, it’s the ideal time for burglars to strike – and with no fear of being interrupted by the homeowners, they can take a little more time to take off with their most valuable possessions.
Fortunately, you can stay one step ahead of intruders by properly securing your home before you head off. To help you with this, this post shares a range of security tips for making your property more secure while you’re away on summer holidays.
Security Tips for Outdoors While on Summer Holidays
Let’s start with a few tips for best securing your home’s exterior while you’re away.
Secure Outdoor Equipment
Securely lock away any items that you usually leave on your front or back lawn. This includes putting equipment like vehicles, lawnmowers, blowers, ladders and other tools in your garage or shed so you don’t draw unnecessary attention to your home. It’s also an excellent idea to empty and lock up your wheelie bins – as criminals have been known to set fire to them on occasion!
Improve Your External Security Measures
There’s no better time than before heading off to upgrade your home’s outdoor security measures. An especially effective way of achieving this is installing security cameras: being sure to position them near front and back entrances, ground floor windows, and your garage at a minimum.
A security camera’s first job is acting as a deterrent: as it tells potential intruders that you’re security conscious and that they will be surveilled if they approach your property. Additionally, growing numbers of camera systems provide a siren and strobe alert on site and allow you to monitor the camera’s real-time video footage through a smartphone app. That way, you can keep an eye on your home from anywhere in the world (with a decent internet connection), for extra peace of mind. Subsequently, if something seems out of place, you can ask someone you trust to pop in and make sure everything’s OK.
Other ways to improve your external security measures include installing additional sensor lighting, erecting a fence around your front yard, and putting security signs and stickers (usually included with a camera or alarm system) around your fence line, windows and sheds
Install Motion-Activated Floodlights
Now, when it comes to adding lighting to the outside of your property, be sure to install a few motion-activated floodlights. These are particularly effective at making your home secure as they will startle any intruders approaching your property and make them more conscious of being watched. More importantly, the activated floodlights make them more visible (and create big shadows), which makes them more noticeable to neighbours and passers-by.
As well as installing obvious floodlights in prime positions, you could conceal a few floodlights so more experienced criminals can’t spot and avoid them.
Keep Your Yard Well Maintained and Tidy
A key, yet often overlooked, external security measure is keeping your front yard cut back and tidy. By keeping your lawn cut and trimming bushes and hedges, you eliminate potential places that a criminal can hide behind as they creep towards your home. It’s also wise to crop taller trees that burglars could potentially use to access your home’s upper levels of your home.
On a similar note, an unkempt front yard is more likely to attract burglars and vandals because it creates the impression, you’re not security conscious – and a soft target. It’s best to tidy your yard before leaving for your holiday and arrange to have it tidied once a week while you’re away. Be sure to stow away any ladders, gardening tools and items that can easily be used to smash windows or doors.
Ask Someone You Trust to Check Your House from Time to Time
Ask a friend or family member to check in on your home occasionally while you’re away. The best-case scenario is if you have a good relationship with your neighbours – as it’ll be easy and convenient to keep an eye out. They’ll also have a great vantage point of your home to observe any suspicious behaviour, notice floodlights being triggered, or hear if your alarm system going off
Maintain the Impression That You’re at Home
A neighbour, friend, or relative can also help create the impression that your home is still occupied to make it less of a target for criminals. This includes collecting your mail, so it doesn’t build up in your mailbox and taking in newspapers and packages from your porch. Other ways to fool potential intruders into thinking your home are to leave clothes hanging on the line and shoes by the front door (in both cases, use older clothing you wouldn’t mind losing). Ensure your bins are stored away and if possible, purchase a timer light to switch on and off at certain times of the night.
Back to Base Monitoring & Security Patrols
For ultimate peace of mind while you’re on holidays, enlist the services of a professional security company to watch over your home for you.
A 24/7 Back to Base Alarm Monitoring service ensures you have a full team of security professionals watching over your home whilst you are away. They’ll immediately respond to your alarm system being triggered and deal with any consequences on your behalf while keeping you updated on what’s going on.
For larger sites such as commercial sites, acreage or farms, they can send out a security guard to routinely patrol your property at random times each night. They can ensure your home’s access points haven’t been compromised and assess, on the spot, if something seems out of place.
Security Tips for Indoors While on Summer Holidays
With your home’s exterior far more secure, let’s move on to how to bolster the security inside your home.
Secure All the Entrances to Your Home
First and foremost, to keep the inside of your home more secure, you need to reinforce all its access points.
A simple and cost-effective way to better secure your doors is with door and window sensors that will sound if someone opens them. Alternatively, you could use a doorstop alarm that’s both triggered if someone attempts to open the door and acts as a doorstop to prevent entry. However, going on holidays is an opportune time to upgrade your front door lock. Deadbolts are especially secure because they have a locking device built into the bolt that can’t be forced back into the door, making them better at preventing unwanted entry.
Each window in your home can be secured with a glass break alarm and a door and window sensor called a reed – to account for different kinds of forced entry. This also applies to your home’s rear entrance if you have sliding patio doors. To secure your windows even further you could also install additional barriers, like security mesh or grills such as Crimsafe. This will keep the intruders out of the premise longer and in front of your security cameras for video evidence.
Now, when it comes to making your garage more secure, the first step is to ensure its contents aren’t visible from the outside. From there, check the locks and upgrade them if they’re not particularly strong or secure; it’s good practice to purchase a lock that reflects the value of your possessions.
Improve Your Internal Security Measures
To protect the possessions within your home while you’re on holidays, you should bolster your indoor security measures. One of the simplest ways to improve your internal security measures is to install a security alarm system. Ideally, this should include motion-activated sensors that are triggered if an intruder makes their way into your home. Better still, many modern alarm systems will send you (or a security firm, in the case of professional monitoring) a notification.
As with your home’s exterior, adding a few, well-positioned security cameras make the inside of your home significantly more secure. They have the potential to make intruders rush, as they’re aware they’re being watched, so they’ll make off with fewer of your possessions. What’s more important, however, is that the cameras will record footage of the burglar(s) and make it easier for the police to find those responsible.
Fortunately, security systems aren’t just reserved for homeowners anymore. With an increasing number of high-quality, highly portable wireless security systems on the market, it’s feasible for renters to install security cameras and alarms too.
Another great, yet simple, way of securing the inside of your home is to lock the doors for each room. Doing so ensures that criminals can’t roam freely around your home if they make it inside. Upon realising the doors throughout the house are locked, they’re highly likely to cut their losses and leave. Worst case, without access to every room, they’ll only be able to steal a limited number of your belongings.
Leave a Light On (But Beware of Fire Hazards)
As mentioned above, it’s smart to fool potential criminals that your home is still occupied and keeping a light on whilst away is a potent way to do so. However, some lampshades and other light fixtures can ignite and present a fire hazard. Worse, objects nearby can also catch fire; coming home from a holiday is hard enough – so the last thing you want to come back to is no home whatsoever!
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to keep a light one without the increased risk of a fire. The first of these is using an automatic timer to turn certain lights in the evening and shut them off again in the more. Better still, you could invest in a smart lighting setup that allows you to schedule when particular lights switch on and off from a mobile device.
Never Hide Spare Keys in Obvious Hiding Places
If you’re leaving your key for someone to check on the place, don’t hide the key. Believe us – criminals know every hiding place, under plant pots, beneath doormats, above doorframes, etc. – and a few better ones you haven’t even thought of. Instead, upgrade to a smart door lock that can be unlocked with a code as well as with a key. Alternatively, you could simply hand the key to the person personally instead of leaving it for them to find.
Hire a Security Monitoring Company
While self-monitoring allows you to keep an eye on your home while you’re away, it’s also up to you to respond to any events that take place. If something happened, you’d have to contact a relative, friend, or neighbour and get them to investigate, call the police, etc.
But what if you’re not with your phone when an incident takes place? What if you receive the notification too late or are in an area with a low network connection? You’re on holidays after all! Also, what if you can’t reach someone quickly enough? These considerations are why it’s an excellent idea to arrange professional security monitoring while you’re away.
With back-to-base monitoring, a professional security company will watch over your home for you and will receive notifications when your security system is triggered. Most importantly, they’ll respond to potential incidents straight away and employ trained and experienced security personnel that know how to escalate incident responses when necessary and can communicate with the authorities if need be.
Keep Your Travel Itinerary Offline
Telling people about your travel plans on social media, etc., is an excellent way of tipping off increasingly savvy criminals that you’re not going to be at home. Worse, posting snaps of your holiday while you away let them know your home is free. To avoid this, skip the status updates about your upcoming trip and hold off posting your pictures until you’re home safe and sound.
Security Tips in Case Someone Does Break Into Your House during Your Summer Holiday
Finally, here are a few tips on what to do in the unfortunate event a burglar manages to break into your home while you’re away.
Don’t Leave Any Valuable Items in Plain Sight
Don’t tempt criminals by leaving your valuable possessions in plain sight. Hide all valuable items that are easy to carry, such as jewellery land electronic devices. You may also want to put away fine China and other valuable flatware, as opposed to displaying it in a cabinet as you might normally.
Don’t Leave Expensive Jewelry on Your Wardrobe or Dresser
While stashing away your valuables, don’t overlook any jewellery that you might have left in your wardrobe or strewn across your dresser for easy access. Before you leave, conduct a thorough sweep for any jewellery, including small dresser drawers, and place it in a safe.
Keep Important Documents in a Fireproof and Well-Hidden Safe
As if theft of your possessions doesn’t cause enough for concern, you’ve also got to keep identity theft in mind. To that end, you need to keep important documents, such as house and vehicle deeds, insurance details, financial and tax information, etc., in a discreet and fireproof safe. While many of these documents will most likely already be in your safe anyway, don’t forget to put away any paperwork you may have left on your dining room table or in your home office.
As a rule, don’t leave out anything that displays your name and address, and if you need to dispose of a document, opt to shred it instead of balling it up and throwing it away.
Make Sure Your Home is Covered by an Insurance Policy
If you don’t have one already, take out homeowners or renters insurance that covers your possessions. Some insurance brokers will also give you a discount on your premiums if you’ve installed a security system – which is more reason to get one, as it’ll eventually pay for itself! As a convenient bonus, some insurance policies will also cover your possessions if they’re stolen whilst on holidays.
Security Tips for Outdoors
- Secure Outdoor Equipment
- Improve Your External Security Measures
- Install Motion-Activated Floodlights
- Keep Your Yard Well Maintained And Tidy
- Ask Someone You Trust to Check Your House from Time to Time
- Maintain the Impression That You’re at Home
- Hire Back to Base Alarm Monitoring Services and/or a Security Patrol
Security Tips for Indoors
- Secure All The Entrances to Your Home
- Improve Your Internal Security Measures
- Leave a Light On (But Beware of Fire Hazards)
- Never Hide Spare Keys in Obvious Hiding Places
- Hire a Security Monitoring Company
- Keep Your Travel Itinerary Offline
Security Tips in Case Someone Does Break Into Your House
- Don’t Leave Any Valuable Items in Plain Sight
- Don’t Leave Expensive Jewelry on Your Wardrobe or Dresser
- Keep Important Documents in a Fireproof and Well-Hidden Safe
- Make Sure Your Home is Covered by an Insurance Policy
Securing your home before you head off on your holiday is made all the easier with our free on-site inspection. We’ll assess your home’s current security weaknesses and advise you on the best way to address each one. To book your free security assessment, contact us today.
Kylie Butchard is a highly respected and experienced leader in Australia’s electronic security industry, having successfully steered Pacific Security Group for over 17 years. With a career embedded in customer service, she has consistently focused on putting people first – clients and staff. Known for her strong, resilient, positive, values-driven, consistent, and compassionate approach, Kylie ensures that her team delivers top-notch security solutions tailored to clients’ unique needs.