DURING the festive season residential crimes such as home robberies and burglaries increase as criminals look to cash in on the celebratory moods and holiday living.
Many home owners also take the opportunity to lock their houses and head on holiday, often not realising that their empty homes become ever better targets for criminal elements.
Enforce Security director Derek Lategan says that these residents should therefore ensure that certain precautions are taken to ensure their unoccupied homes are not broken into.
1) Ensure home alarms are in working order:
Before heading on holiday, residents should ensure their alarm systems are in working order. Lategan recommends that these systems be serviced, batteries checked and replaced if necessary, and self-tests be performed.
“Residents need to alert their security company to the tests being conducted. There are two types of tests that can be performed: The first is to test the system within your property, and the second is to test that your system is in communication your security provider’s control room,” Lategan explains.
To test your internal system, first refer to your user manual as procedures differ depending on model and system types. However, the following procedure works with most systems:
>> Ensure your system is in “READY” mode, but do not arm it.
>>Open each protected door and window one at a time, checking that each of the zones are triggered
>> After closing each door or window, ensure that your system reverts to “READY” mode.
>> Repeat this test for motion sensors too.
To test the signal transmission between your system and your security provider’s control room, the following procedure should be followed:
>> Call the Control Room to inform them, and then request your system to be placed on “TEST”. Be ready to give your account details and challenge code to the operator on request.
>> Arm your system as usual and then trigger it by either opening a protected door or window or moving in front of a motion detector.
>> Allow the alarm to sound for at least one minute, then turn off the alarm by entering your code
on your keypad.
>> Verify with the control room operator that your signal was received
>> Request that your system then be taken off “TEST”
2) Avoid drawing attention to unoccupied homes:
Lategan advises that residents do not allow their absence to be reflected in the way they leave their properties. He says people should ensure that their doors and windows are properly closed and locked, and, if possible, asked well-known and trusted neighbours to keep their eyes on their properties.
“If the neighbours know they are away they will take more notice of suspicious activity on their property. They should also exchange contact numbers in case of an emergency.”
Joining neighbourhod watches and developing community relationships also has the added bonus of community members and neighbourhood patrols keeping watch over homes.
Lategan also recommends the following:
>> Residents should ask someone they know to clear their post box out daily or at least every second day. Uncollected and piled-up post tells people – and criminals – that no-one is at home.
>> Residents should fit their homes with day/night sensor lights so that the properties are never in darkness. Both outside and inside lights that are switched off during the day and on at night via a day/night setting give the impression that someone is at home.
>> Residents with alarm systems should ensure the system is armed.
>> If families are going away for a few days it is advisable that they ask friends or family members to check on their properties every second or third day. It is also important to leave a set of house keys with them in case they need to access their homes in emergency situations.
>> People who employ live-out domestic employees should not alert them to the fact that they are going away. Even if they are trustworthy it does not mean that criminal elements will not be able to get wind of this information via their innocent conversations with friends – or threaten them for it.
Lategan adds that installing a CCTV system with remote viewing capability is also a good idea.
“Enforce Security supplies a really affordable CCTV system that allows residents to dial into their cameras and check everything is in order. Having such a system is highly advised.” - Supplied