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With the holidays just around the corner, most people will be traveling. Many burglaries occur during this time. How do you bulletproof your home for the holidays?

When you leave home, your property becomes vulnerable to burglars, it is important to take precautionary measures to ensure that your valuables do not become the target of burglars.

Many people ask a friend to look after their house when they are away. Otherwise, make sure that all walls, gates, windows and security gates are secure and in good condition. An alarm system is a good investment. Make sure the neighbours who are not going away know that you will be on holiday and give them your telephone number so that they can contact you if there is something suspicious going on in the neighbourhood. Tell your local police station that you will be away. Make sure you have their telephone number with you.

South African Police Service and Business Against Crime have the following suggestions to keep your home safe while you are away:
•    Check that your alarm system is working properly before you go on holiday.
•    Close and lock all windows and doors and ensure all windows have burglar guards.
•    Fit suitable locks and bolts to all sliding doors as a means to prevent burglars from lifting the glass off its tracks – the most common method for break-ins.
•    Do not leave an out-of-town message on your answering machine, door or post box.
•    Cancel newspaper deliveries for the period you are away.
•    Never leave tools in your garden or an unlocked garden shed that would help intruders break into your home.

If you are staying home, make provision for good outside lighting, but switch the lights off during the day. Outside lights that are on during the day are signs that no one is home.
Never open the door automatically if the bell rings or if someone knocks. Make completely sure the person wanting to enter is expected or someone you know.

A watchdog is a good early warning system. Keep it visible as a deterrent, but beyond the reach of strangers. The unexplainable death of a watchdog is a warning sign of a possible burglary. If your house alarm goes off; you hear strange noises; or the dogs bark, switch on the outside lights.

When approaching your house entrance by foot or by car ensure that it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed. Be aware of persons loitering at the entrance.

If you buy luxury goods, cut up the boxes and dispose of these in tied black bags – a branded box is a tell-tale sign of new items thieves could find in your house.

The police have also urged holiday-makers not to drink and drive and adhere to the rules of the road.

Last Updated on 15 December 2014 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs