With the holiday season fast approaching, it is important to be as vigilant as ever when it comes to keeping our homes and family safe. The summer months can be peak times for residential robberies with opportunistic thieves tempted to take advantage of homes filled with new gifts during the Christmas period or break into vacant properties while people are away on holiday. Cash, jewellery and electronics are generally high on a burglar’s hit list.

Unfortunately the summer months leading up to the holidays can be a hectic time and many people become complacent, leaving doors and windows open or unsecured. According to the 2015 ADT Secure Homes Report, 55 percent of people had accidently gone to bed or left home without locking up, and nearly a quarter had left home with their front door left open.[1] This demonstrates how crucial it is for people to be vigilant about basic security, particularly in the peak holiday period when many people fall victim to break-ins.

ADT Security suggests the following 10 tips for people looking to avoid being targeted by burglars this festive season:

1. Don’t post pictures of gifts on social media, and don’t post your whereabouts, particularly if you are on holidays. Thieves can use insight from social media, such as Facebook status updates, to target homes.

2. Make your home look like someone is there, even if it’s empty. This can include:
• getting neighbour to collect mail and put your bins out on bin night
• parking a car on your driveway so it looks like someone is home
• using timers to turn interior and exterior lights on and off at night – ideally at different times to avoid obvious pattern
• hanging clothes on the washing line, or leaving shoes at the front door ensuring scheduled deliveries, such as newspapers, are stopped while you are away, or asking a neighbour to collect them.

3. Securely lock sheds and garages so burglars can’t use the tools and ladders inside to access your home. Similarly, cut back tall trees or shrubs that may be used to access upper levels of your home.

4. Eliminate potential hiding spots by cutting back foliage around the house and install motion-sensor flood lighting to startle a thief if they approach the home at night.

5. Even though the weather is hot, don’t leave windows open in empty rooms, especially if you’re going out or entertaining at the back of the house. Use window locks and consider upgrading flyscreens with security mesh.

6. Never hide a key outside your home. Instead, give it to a trusted neighbour or friend as thieves know to look for keys under pot plants and other hiding spots.

7. Don’t put Christmas trees and presents near windows that are visible to the street as this can invite opportunistic burglars to break in.

8. Don’t power your outdoor Christmas lights by running an extension lead back into the house through a window. It will prevent the window from being properly secured, which burglars will spot instantly.

9. After the holidays, don’t pile up boxes from expensive purchases outside your home. Burglars will appreciate knowing you have valuable new items inside and may add them to their ‘shopping list’. They also know that you’ll likely replace the stolen items and may return to break-in a second time.

10. Think twice about installing a DIY security alarm as they can be unreliable and easy to tamper with. Instead, consider a 24/7 monitored security system that provides back-up should you experience a security breach. The monitoring centre will notify you as soon as the alarm is triggered and can send a patrol car to investigate, which means you can avoid the risk of confrontation with an intruder.

A tailored,back-to-base security system should be high on the wish list for anyone who wants to avoid being robbed this Christmas. ADT Security professionals offer free home security assessments for homeowners and tailors home security solutions specifically for each home.

Originally published on ADT Security