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There are many precautions you can take to protect your property and what’s in it. No matter how safe your neighborhood or how careful you are, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimise the chances of damage or theft.

Focus on door and window security

Invest in a solid door with good security features. Doorbells with a camera feature are readily available and will send them images to your phone so you know exactly who is at your door. Keep windows closed when the house is empty, and use sensors that notify you (sometimes via an app on your phone) if they have been tampered with. Designate one person whose responsibility it is to lock up at night.

Look around your property

Get into the habit of examining your property, looking for tampering of locks, scuff marks and other signs of forced entry. Don’t leave ladders lying around where they can be used by burglars to gain access.

Invest in security features

Security lights – especially ones that are activated when they detect any motion – are an important feature for modern homes. So are alarm systems. Many advanced security systems today can be linked to your smartphone for added convenience. Look at investing in additional security on your home. Remember to also inform your insurance company of any such additions as you can receive a discount on your home insurance premium for having professionally accredited alarm systems like ‘phone watch’ fitted in your home. Displaying a ‘Beware of the dog’ sign may act as a discouragement – even if you don’t have a dog!

Maintain the property

Keep on top of annual maintenance jobs around areas such as plumbing and electrics. Make sure to get your drains and other plumbed systems looked at regularly. This way, you can nip small problems in the bud before they turn into a disaster. 80% of flood damage claims are as the result of internal faulty ‘unmaintained’ plumbing systems. Employ an electrician to check your internal electrics. Get them to do a full audit on your house and itemise any wiring deficiencies that you may have, with the severity of the issues highlighted. Get the important issues addressed as soon as possible. Remember to get your chimneys swept at least once a year, and more if you use them often. Be very cautious when using candles – never leave them unattended as they are a big cause of house fires.

Protect your property with alarms

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are non-negotiable home safety items. Replace batteries annually – get into the habit of using a yearly prompt such as a birthday or event such as Halloween and change the batteries every year on that day.

Tips for empty properties

If you are responsible for a home which is empty or are going away on holiday, here are some tips to keep them safe.

  • An untidy garden can indicate that no one is home, so keep the exterior of your property neat.
  • Don’t let mail build up as this really advertises that no one is home to bring it in.
  • Use timers to switch lights on and off to make the house appear occupied. Also see if they can be used to turn on the TV, or the radio. Remember, many break ins occur during the day when the owners are at work or school, so set them for these times, too.
  • Don’t post holiday photos on social media until you return.
  • Keeping the curtains drawn will prevent potential burglars looking in to see what you’ve got of value.