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Keeping Your Home Safe During The Festive Season
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Keeping Your Home Safe During The Festive Season

Even during these trying economic times that Zimbabwe and the rest of the world are going through, festive season is still a time for great cheer. A time to meet the rest of the family including those strange uncles and aunts you have not seen for months or years and celebrate life. However, statistically speaking, it is also that time of the year when burglars, robbers and other house-breaking criminals also celebrate their biggest scores at the expense of some families. 

That is right, a lot of criminals exploit the spirit and atmosphere of the festive season to strike at your expense as a homeowner or even renter and due to a number of reasons they end up scoring big and easy wins. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and make it harder for would-be criminals to strike your home. Most of these criminals are looking for an easy score and if you follow the steps below they will move on to the next target while you can continue to enjoy your holidays. The only cloud to sour your mood would be those uncharitable comments from your aunts.

  • Keep all your doors locked all the time even when you are home. This seems like a no-brainer but a lot of the time petty criminals and burglars do not even have to find some creative way into the house because owners often forget to lock their doors and gates during Christmas. During the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is easy to forget especially when you have visitors staying over who may not be familiar with the system and locks you use. Make sure you have someone in charge of making sure that all gates are locked all the time. If you are having a braai at the back make sure the front doors, windows and gate(s) are closed and locked. If it’s possible to turn the alarm on for unmonitored entrances do so.

  • This brings us to our next tip. Always make sure to turn your alarm on as often as possible. Educate the visitors you have over about whatever system you have and rope them into your security arrangements. 

  • If you do not have an alarm system installed, install one. There are a lot of affordable easy-to-use alarm systems that do not cost an arm and a leg and are not necessarily attached to any security company. You can get one of those although an alarm system associated with an alarm system company often means backup which is especially useful if you travel.

  • We cannot say this often enough. Make sure to close and lock all doors. Assign duties to these new members so that there is someone who makes sure that all doors are locked, and all windows are closed as often as possible at all times.

  • Buy new locks for your gates and change locks whenever your old renters leave or when you have new renters. It might seem like paranoia but it is common sense that might spare you from a break in whether it is during the festive season or not.

  • Do not hide your key outside your home. Burglars and thieves are often savvy enough to stake it out and might observe you doing this. Even if they do not see you doing this they are clever enough to check all possible hiding spots when you are away for the holidays.

  • Install and use timer lights to create a sense of normalcy. This is likely to deter thieves even when you are away.

  • If possible get a house sitter whenever you plan to travel during the festive season. A lot of families do travel to rural Zimbabwe to meet with other extended members of their family. If you cannot have a paid house sitter you trust then at least one family member has to stay behind and watch and take care of the house.

  • Do not draw attention to your house by for example throwing away boxes that prove that you have bought expensive gifts in your garbage bin. Some savvy thieves do not just break into random homes. They do their homework and only strike at houses that are likely to have valuables.

  • Join a neighbourhood watch or hire a guard if you can afford one. Be careful about the last bit though because hiring a guard might give the impression that you are rich and have valuables you want to keep safe so that might end up making you an even bigger target.

  • Engage your neighbours so they can keep an eye on your house whether you are going away for days or just going to a party for the day.

  • Secure fireplaces and other entry points such as windows by keeping them closed and locked as well as installing sensors

These and other common sense steps might actually help keep your house safe during the festive season.