Housebound? Keep security top of mind

Many people have had to change their Easter travel plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT, says crime picks up over Easter so whether staying home or travelling a short distance to visit family, homeowners must remain vigilant about home security.

“Traditionally, criminals take advantage of empty homes and quieter streets over the Easter period. But things will be different this year as families opt to stay home and keep away from crowded places. However, just because you are not going away and your house is not standing empty does not mean you will not fall victim to crime,” Hattingh says.

She points out that when families are home, there are cars in the driveway, bicycles, toys and tools in the garden and doors and security gates being left open. All these things appeal to criminals and your home could be targeted, during the day or night.

The best defence against burglars, opportunistic thieves or armed robbers is to make your property as unattractive to criminals as possible by implementing extra precautions to keep your belongings safe, inside and outside the home.

4 top staying-home security tips:

  1. Keep security gates locked at all times – with the keys removed!
  2. Activate garden beams and/or electric fencing and ensure these are linked to armed response. Garden beams and electric fencing are valuable early-warning systems which will alert you to unwanted guests on your property.
  3. Make sure your alarm is working properly in all zones of the home, and make use of the zoning to protect areas you are not using.
  4. Get the whole family involved in security. Make sure they know where the panic buttons are, how to use them and who to phone in an emergency.

A pertinent point Hattingh raises is that with schools closed for an extended period, it is the ideal opportunity to get the kids involved as “superheroes” of your home security.

“Take into account that your children are probably as scared and confused about Covid-19 as you are. It is not their choice to be home, so try to keep things positive and help them to feel that their being home is actually a good thing when it comes to security,” Hattingh says.

There are many ways to involve children in home security, such as:

  • Give them each a responsibility – one must check doors, one must check windows, one must arm the alarm at night.
  • Roleplay emergency scenarios so that everyone knows exactly what they must do should a fire break out, someone come onto the property or there be a medical emergency.
  • Let them get creative in creating an emergency numbers poster you can stick on the fridge or paint a section of wall with chalk paint and let them create it there. This should include the number of your security provider and friends and family they can reach if they need help.

 “We discourage leaving children home alone if at all possible, but we understand many parents have no choice,” Hattingh says. “Ensure your children are security conscious and know who to contact in an emergency.”

Load shedding, she adds, is definitely a concern these days and it can wreak havoc with security systems.

“Talk to your security provider about any concerns you have. It may even be a good idea to get one of their consultants out to cast an eye around your property – a trained eye may pick up weaknesses you have not noticed.

“Tightening up small vulnerabilities can amount to a huge relief when it comes to home security. Do not leave anything to chance this Easter,” Hattingh concludes.

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