Summer is here, and Australians are now in the throes of travel and social events, leaving our homes unoccupied for longer periods this holiday season.
It's also the time Aussies spend big on gifts for their loved ones, with an influx of parcel deliveries leading to an uptick in home break-ins.
"We're about to hit peak busy season, and the ability to keep a vigilant and watchful eye on our most prized irreplaceable possessions, pets, and loved ones will be tested," says Mark Fletcher, Australian managing director of home security and smart home device manufacturer, Ring.
Consider the following advice this holiday season from some experts in home security.
Secure your home before you go
Before leaving, ensure your windows and doors are locked. Make sure your shed or outdoor storage areas are also locked and any valuable items put away.
If you don't have a security camera installed, Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is a quick solution to protect your home, either inside or out. It's weather-resistant and wire-free, so you can simply move it to wherever you need, whether that's a wall in your garden, or your kitchen.
Avoid hiding spare keys
Many of us still have the habit of keeping a spare key somewhere outside of the house.
This is often the first thing a home intruder looks for. Instead, leaving a spare key with a friend or trusted neighbour is a far more reliable alternative.
Update regular or recurring deliveries
To prevent your home from appearing vacant during extended absences, consider rescheduling regular subscription deliveries. If unexpected deliveries occur, having a video doorbell is an easy way to instruct the delivery person to place the package in a secure location.
Make it look like someone is home
Consider implementing timer settings not only for your lights but also for sound.
Having your radio turn on at various points throughout the day can give the impression that someone is at home. For an extra layer of security, the team at Ring suggest an indoor camera for additional peace of mind.
Eliminate hiding places
Lights that automatically turn on via timer at night, are linked to motion sensors, or can be controlled via an app are a good tool to make your house well-lit even when you're not at home. Cameras equipped with motion-sensitive, built-in floodlights, will also act as a deterrence from potential intruders.
Keeping your garden neat and tidy can do more than just improve its appearance; it can also help to eliminate hiding spaces for potential criminals. Consider removing potential hiding spots from your front and rear access points, as this will make burglars more visible to neighbours and passersby.
Keep valuables out of sight
The team at Uniden point out it's important to keep curtains and blinds closed to keep your valuables hidden from prowlers, and keep new televisions, bikes, or similar locked in the garage or garden shed. It's also critical not to leave valuables in your car, especially if you rely on the street or other visible parking.
Burglars can also get an idea of what home has new electronics based on the packaging materials you leave in plain sight, so it's just as important not to leave empty cardboard boxes lying around near the bins.
Keep up appearances
If you're heading away for the holidays, not everyone needs to know. The team at Uniden suggest you let a neighbour know you're going away and ask them to put your bins out on bin night (even if they're empty) or collect your mail. This can help keep up appearances that someone is home for the holidays and deter potential thieves. Additionally, investing in timed lights that come on in the evenings can also help to discourage wannabe criminals.