Going away this holiday? 5 ways to burglar-proof your home

Going away this holiday? 5 ways to burglar-proof your home

You can never be too safe this holiday period. Here's a look at five things you can do to protect your home from burglars. 

Home during Christmas
File photo/iStock (yhelfman)

The Festive Season is a busy period for criminals who can't wait to get their sticky fingers all over your valuable household items. 

While it won't deter them completely, burglar-proofing your house will help reduce the chances of thieves targetting your home. 

According to Statistics South Africa, housebreaking is the most common crime experienced by households in the country.  

"A total of 983 000 households experienced housebreaking incidences in the 2021/22 period. The second most common type of crime experienced by households is home robbery, affecting 155 000 households," the national statistical service revealed in a report

ALSO READ: KZN is the second worst housebreaking hotspot in South Africa

The holiday period is prime time for criminal activity, as many people will be leaving their homes unattended for days or weeks while they are on vacation. 

Others will spend hours away from home keeping their children entertained during the school holidays or at the mall doing Christmas shopping. 

Here are five ways you can burglar-proof your home:

Tip #1 -  Mind your trash

Taking out your rubbish on bin day is something people don't give a lot of thought to, but it can be the difference between whether your house becomes a target or not. Many people will be getting their bonuses this Christmas, which means more money to spend on a new 70-inch TV or other expensive household items. 

The packaging is usually discarded on bin day - which is a major advertisement for burglars that there are expensive new valuables in your home. Keep these boxes out of sight by breaking them down and folding them into rubbish bags.

ALSO READ: Holiday season: A perfect time to reflect with gratitude

Trash Rubbish Bags
File photo: iStock (Byjeng_

Tip #2 - Be on high alert after a neighbour's house is burglarised 

Believe it or not, many criminals return to the scene of the crime especially when it comes to house break-ins. They now know how easy it is to break into homes on your street. Some even target the same house twice because they know the layout of your house and what valuables they left behind.

If they damaged an entry point like a window or door during the first break-in, they know some people might not be able to get it fixed straight away - leaving you vulnerable. Step up security and be on high alert after your home or a neighbour's house has been burglarised. 

ALSO READ: Smart tip to help you pay off your mortgage sooner

Household burglary
Household burglary /iStock
Tip #3 -  Beware of the dog 

Whether you have a dog or not, it might be a good idea to put up a "beware of the dog" sign. Professional criminals will likely ignore this, but Festive Season "chancers" will be deterred and move on to the next house. 

Tip #4- Review your home security measures 

Now is the perfect time to review your home security. How easy will it be for a criminal to gain access to your property? Do you have enough security layers to keep you safe? Some of the layers of security include:

- Electric fences/security gates
- Security cameras
- Alarm system
- Secure doors and windows (burglar bars, locks, deadbolts)
- Motion detectors 
- A safe for valuables 

Loadshedding can affect some of your security layers, so invest in battery backup devices to keep all your systems working. 

ALSO READ: Part two: Valuable home safety and security tips to follow during loadshedding

Also, don't forget the basics: 

  • Don't keep valuables near windows or leave your keys hanging near the door. 
  • Close your curtains so burglars cannot peer through them and see what valuables you have inside.
  • Check that all doors are locked and windows are closed before heading to bed.
  • Don't hide Christmas gifts from your children by keeping them in your car boot - especially if you don't have a garage. 

ALSO READ: How UPS and inverters can help during loadshedding

Burglar with crowbar trying to break a door


Tip #5 - Get a house sitter

A house sitter is one of the most popular ways to deter criminals. Burglars casing out homes in your area will look for easy targets first - houses that show no signs of life. No lights coming on at night, post stacking up in your mailbox, and overgrown lawns are some of the signs that nobody is home. A house sitter can help take care of these things. If you can't get a house sitter, ask a neighbour you trust to keep an eye out on your place. 

ALSO READ: Dog owner slammed for wanting free pet sitter

Fancy house with lights on
File photo: iStock (piovesempre)

BONUS tip: Don't overshare on social media - especially if you are going on vacation. You might be tempted to show off the huge new TV you bought on Facebook or show your Instagram followers how much fun you are having on your seaside vacation, but you never know who is watching. Friends, acquaintances, and even some family members who know where you live could have bad intentions.

ALSO READ: Understanding the different solar options for your home


Main image credit: iStock/yhelfman

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