1. Leaving the House Dark and Unkempt
You don’t have to leave the lights in your home on 24/7 while you’re away, but you shouldn’t completely leave it dark and unkempt either. A poorly maintained and groomed house can attract unwanted attention – especially the burglars – as it’s also a sign of a lack of security.
Consider getting programmable or motion-activated lights for certain parts of your home (such as your porch or living room) so you can time it to stay on at night and deter burglars. Also, keep your yard and lawn clean and well-maintained even when you’re not home. Besides that, ask your neighbour or family members to help out with the cleaning while you’re away.
2. Leaving the House Key in Obvious Places
It’s important for you to keep a spare key in case of emergencies, but you need to conceal it well so that no one else can find it and be given a “free pass” to break in your home. Experienced burglars can pretty much guess where most people hide their spare keys and have no trouble finding them (in the case where the keys are in full view) and invite themselves in.
Get creative and hide your spare key in places that only you know, and don’t tell anyone other than your family members where your spare key is!
3. Letting Mails Pile Up In the Mailbox
This is a dead giveaway that you haven’t been home for a long time. Since most burglars usually do a little bit of reconnaissance to identify your daily routine patterns before breaking into your home, signs of neglect like piled up mails basically tell them that it’s go time for their misdeed.
Tip: Cancel your mails and subscriptions. Opt for email statements instead. You can also ask your neighbour or a trusted person to check in your home while you’re away every few days to minimise the signs of neglect – and to give the impression that your home is always occupied.
4. Not Installing Home Security Features
Home security features are great in deterring burglars, but they can be pricey. We’ve mentioned programmable or sensor lights for your porch, but consider adding motion-activated alarm system and security cameras as well. These can range anywhere between RM150 to over RM1,000, depending on the brand and features.
If you don’t have the time and the money to set up proper security cameras, buy the dummy versions instead. You can get them on Lazada for less than RM10. They may not be able to record anything, but their presence is usually enough to make burglars think twice before listing your home in their to-rob list.
5. Leaving Valuables in Full View
If you leave your food on the table in full view, someone is bound to help themselves to it. The same principle works with your home; keep your windows and curtains closed and never leave your valuables in plain sight.
Keep your TV, laptop, and valuables hidden (in you can’t move big items like your TV, just make sure they’re hidden from view) and locked away. Secure your jewelry in a password protected safe box or hide them somewhere unusual. You can even leave cheap decoy jewelry around to trick burglars into leaving your hidden – and expensive – jewelry untouched.
Be Sure to Do These Before You Leave Your Home
Your home is your safe place, so before you leave it to go on your trip, make sure to check this list to help secure your home from unwanted attention and accidents:
- Secure your home. Lock all doors and windows and invest in good padlocks and home security systems.
- Keep those lights on! As mentioned, having your lights on will help deter burglars. Install motion-sensor lights or programmable lights in your porch, backyards, and the dark areas of your home to scare the intruders away.
- Unplug the gas and electronics. You don’t want to return to a burned down home, do you? Unplug your electronics and gas to avoid possible accidents while you’re away. While you’re at it, turn off the water tap too to keep your water bill from going through the roof!
- Keep a low profile on social media. Remember when Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint when she was in one of her residences in Paris? The robbers had allegedly planned and timed out the whole robbery to perfection with the help of Kim’s own updates and posts on Snapchat and other social media. Anyone with a smartphone and internet can track you on the social media, so avoid flaunting your whereabouts on your social media. You never know who might be among the watchers.
- Know your neighbours. Don’t stop at sending them the occasional food and gifts during the festive season, make friends with your neighbours and ask them to keep a lookout for your home while you’re away. Of course, you should be returning the favour when they’re away too!
Stay Safe Out There, and Keep Your Home Safer!
Going on a year-end trip is plenty of fun, but be sure to have fun on the safe side! If you’re driving, check your vehicle’s spare tyres, emergency kit, as well as the first-aid kit and send it for servicing before you leave to ensure it’s in an optimum condition.
If you’re flying, don’t underestimate travel insurance even if you already have medical insurance! It can help you with travel-related mishaps, including cancelled flights, lost baggage, and speaking of robbery, if you’re robbed off your valuables while on your trip. Lastly, choose the right protection for your home.