It is the final countdown - just five weeks to go before Christmas. Property owners and tenants of rented accommodation have plenty of time to secure homes in preparation for well deserved annual holidays.
Commenting on household security throughout the year and especially during the festive season is Graham Boys, Managing Director of ADT KwaZulu-Natal, who says: “Statistics clearly show that criminal activity increases during the ‘silly season’ and it is therefore imperative for homeowners to take certain precautions and not let their guard down.”
The truth is that petty crime and poverty are linked, and with the country’s unemployment rate currently at 25 percent as reported by Statistics SA, it remains at a level fraught with complex poverty alleviation issues. Not only does it show 48 percent of SA’s youth aged between 15 and 24 years of age to be unemployed, but in world rankings SA sits in 27th place, with Zimbabwe in first place, Chile in 100th place and Monaco with zero unemployment in 198th place. For this reason then that South Africans cannot ignore the realities, and are urged to go that extra mile in securing properties at all times.
Be pragmatic before leaving on holiday and “think like a burglar when securing your home” says Boys, in offering a number of tips to ease the process during the four week period before year end festivities. With only three weeks to the closing of mainstream schools, sufficient time is available to start the checking and fixing process. Start testing alarm systems and all security equipment , and report faults as soon as possible, arrange services, repairs and replacements before the seasonal rush. Pay special attention to ensure that outside door locks are of superior quality, in optimum working order, preferably from an SABS approved range of high security domestic door locks.
Make time now to replace burglar bars, worn out window frames, bolts and locks, and check and repair water leaks and drainage systems, especially in summer rainfall areas. By four weeks before departure arrangements for pets and house sitters should be finalized. For those not leaving their animals in kennels it is imperative to ensure they are in optimal and responsible care, going beyond just keeping them security .
By two to one weeks before leaving on holiday ADT suggests that key holders, such as trusted neighbours, family and friends who will be available to make decisions on behalf of homeowners in their absence, are organised. Decisions may involve the hiring of a security guard, dealing with insurance companies, or replacing window and burglar bars should an incident take place. Also advise security companies of holiday periods to arrange “vacation check” programs, and by completing the necessary holiday forms the correct contact and substitute information can be communicated.
Very importantly, ensure that all newspaper and other deliveries are terminated for the required period and ask friends and neighbours to clear post boxes on a regular basis. Ideally, make copies of all valuable identity documents, check insurance and medical aid, and leave contact details where necessary.
Also ensure for sufficient time prior to departure for last minute checks including water outlets and electric sockets, as well as inside keys visible from the outside. Double check that all windows and doors are secured, and note the very handy tip to secure sliding doors by placing a piece of timber cut to size inside the sliding rail. Check the outside of the property and pack away ladders or garden tools. When packing vehicles, do it discreetly and if possible behind garage doors to avoid drawing attention to the house being vacated.
Lastly, enjoy the Festive Season with peace of mind!