31 Mar 2013
With incidents of house burglaries typically increasing over holiday periods, it is important for homeowners to ensure they implement precautionary measures to protect themselves and their homes this Easter.
This is according to Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, who says there are a number of steps homeowners can take to ensure their homes are not easy targets.
She says break-ins tend to increase during the holiday period as criminals take a chance either thinking or knowing that no one is home. “Therefore, it is important that homeowners take the time to ensure that their home is secure by increasing security measures.”
Fourie shares tips on how homeowners can protect not only their possessions, but also their loved ones.
Ensure that the alarm system works
It is imperative that homeowners seek the advice of a trusted security provider to install an alarm system that suits the property’s needs (i.e. ensuring all areas of the property are covered), while also meeting the appropriate security industry standards.
Following the installation, security alarms must be checked and tested on a regular basis to make sure they are in working order at all times. Testing the alarm is crucial as most insurance policies stipulate that the cover is invalid if the alarm is not working or set when no one is home, which places homeowners at risk of claim rejections.
Should a problem with the alarm system arise, it must be fixed as soon as possible to avoid the property becoming vulnerable or invalidating the insurance policy.
It is a good idea for homeowners to test the alarm before embarking on a trip.
Keep walls and garden clear
Bushes and long grass provide criminals with a good hiding place. As a result, homeowners should always trim down grass and large bushes and remove big trees from the property’s boundaries and driveway.
Even a branch from a neighbour’s tree might present a potential entry point into the property for a burglar.
Install safety gates
The use of automatic gate entrances will ensure that homeowners do not have to leave the safety of their vehicle in order to access the premises.
It is also a good idea to have a camera installed by the front gate so that any visitors can be clearly viewed from the safety of the home.
Installing exterior motion sensor lights not only allow homeowners to remain alert to any activity and movement on the property, they also deter criminals from invading the property. It is also advisable to install exterior lighting that can be controlled remotely from the inside of your home.
Lock doors and windows
Homeowners must keep doors and windows locked when not in use.
As an added security measure, homeowners should install burglar bars and security gates for situations when windows and doors are left open while at home.
Ensure keys and locks are secure
When homeowners move into a new home it is important that they change the locks on all the doors immediately as they can never be sure who previously had a copy of the keys to the home.
They should never give copies of the house keys to general service providers or strangers, particularly not before leaving on a holiday.
Make friends with neighbours
By befriending neighbours, homeowners will have an extra set of eyes looking out for their property.
Building good relationships can also be beneficial in the event of an emergency as they will be more willing to provide assistance.
Fourie says burglars target houses that look easy and vulnerable to break-in, however, by implementing these simple added security measures homeowners can deter potential burglaries and enjoy their Easter holiday knowing they have done their best to protect their most expensive asset and the lives of their family members.
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