Tips to keep your home safe over the holidays – Review

tips-to-keep-your-home-safe-over-the-holidays-–-review

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POLOKWANE – Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Francois Swart says it is important to ensure the safety of your home is guaranteed, particularly over the festive season.

Statistics show that criminal activity increases during the holidays and it is therefore imperative for residents to take the right precautions and not let their guard down. According to Swart, your home is a space where you should feel comfortable and he gave some tips on how you can keep your home safe during this period.

“Embrace the digital era, you can find a wide variety of home security camera systems online or in hardware stores. You can set these up yourself, or there are companies that will set them up for you. Don’t forget traditional safety methods either. In South Africa, homes are generally equipped with basic safety measures such as security gates, burglar bars and alarm systems. In fact, some insurance companies won’t cover you unless your home is equipped with these standard features. Know your neighbours, people who keep an eye out for each other in an area is proven to boost security and your personal feeling of safety. It helps to know your neighbours in a time of crisis, especially if you can easily reach out on a group chat if you need help.”

He advised residents to seriously consider joining the Polokwane CPF as in most cases the first respond to a crime will be from your neighbourhood CPF as the Polokwane CPF has social media pages and groups so that you are kept informed of what is happening around you as and when it happens. “The festive season should be a time of relaxation and giving, but let us ensure that we do not give our belongings to criminals on a golden platter when we go away,” he said.

Here are some security tips to bear in mind to help alleviate the risk to your family and property:

• Ensure that your alarm is in working order. We tend to forget that an alarm system, like a car, has parts that age and wear out and therefore should be serviced at least once a year.

• Thunderstorms can wreak havoc on alarm systems. Regularly check alarm systems for lightning damage.

• Ensure that you have a battery backup on your alarm system that will keep it powered during load-shedding.

• Residents should test their alarms at least three weeks before they go on holiday. Testing can be done anytime (ideally between 08: 00 and 20: 00 on Mondays to Fridays) and if a fault is discovered, it can be immediately reported to the security service provider’s technical team.

• Tell your security company if you are going away and ensure that you supply all the necessary information regarding nearby emergency contacts.

• Inform your neighbours of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property.

• Stop all newspaper deliveries and ask a friend or neighbour to collect your post. A bulging post box is a real giveaway that you are not at home.

• If hiring a house sitter, ensure that you teach them how to use your alarm correctly.

• Double check that you locked and secured all windows and doors before you leave home.

• Ensure that all your outside locks are at least four lever locks or double cylinder security locks.

• Never leave a key in the inside of an outer door which has glass panels or glass near the door lock.

• Security gates fitted on outer doors is a highly effective security measure that gives you an extra line of defense.

• Sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail. Make sure that sliding doors cannot be lifted vertically.

• Full fencing and sturdy gates are a good deterrent.

• Have good exterior lighting, preferably on a timer.

• Do not leave ladders, spades or tools outside, as they can be used to break into your house.

• Clear signage that indicate you have security also helps to discourage burglars.

• Be discreet when preparing to go away. People should, where possible, pack their cars inside their garages.

More tips can be found on the CPF’s website at cpfpolokwane.co.za or you can email them at [email protected].

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