If you are planning on going away this holiday season or at any other time during the year, the following tips from Police in QLD, NSW and VIC will help you prepare and keep your home secure
from crime whilst you are away. We recommend you have a look at each set of tips from the Police forces across the States as they each have excellent suggestions for all households, regardless of
where you may live.

Ensure the house is securely locked, including windows usually left open

 Cancel newspapers and redirect your mail or have it collected by a friend

 Put pets into a boarding kennel or have friends visit them often
 Tell neighbours or friends who can check on the house, you are away and whom will be at the house legitimately – e.g. gardeners, pet minders
 Secure your garage or, if unable – move items such as bikes inside the house
 Consider security devices, including light timers etc.
 Do not leave cash in the house and locate jewellery in a safe place
 Ensure your lawn is cut, the property tidy and stop all deliveries
 Avoid leaving the answering machine on and turn the phone volume down
There are things you can do everyday to help make your home safer but when you are on holidays it is not as easy. A home that looks unattended is generally an easier target for a burglar. The key to deterring burglars while you are away is to make your home look like someone’s at home.

Before heading off on holiday, here are some easy tips to prepare your home:
 Leave a radio on and tune it to a talkback station
 Use a timer on lamps to make if look like someone is inside
 Cancel deliveries, such as newspapers, or have a trusted person collect it for you
 You should also have a trusted neighbour, relative or Neighbourhood Watch Area Coordinator empty your letterbox and take your bin out and in, even if it is empty
 Hang some old clothes on the line and leave old shoes outside the front door
 If you are going away for an extended period of time, consider getting a house-sitter and arrange for someone to mow your lawn
 Try not to leave invitations or notes about holidays in plain view such as stuck on the fridge, next to the phone or on a whiteboard
 If you are out for the evening, leave a light on and close the curtains.

Here are some tips to manage your phone and messages before you go on holidays:
 Divert your home phone to your mobile or lower the volume on your phone
 On your answering machine say ‘We can’t come to the phone right now’ rather than ‘I’m on holidays and will be back on…’
 If you live alone, say ‘We can’t come to the phone right now’ rather than ‘I can’t come to the phone right now’.

Absence from home register
Many police stations operate an Absence from home register, where you can leave your contact information and the times and dates that you will be away.

 Absence From Residence Form

Police can use this information to perform checks in the area during usual patrols. If using this service, be sure to notify police when you return, especially if returning earlier than planned.
An empty home is a prime target for intruders because they have less chance of being disturbed and the offence can go undetected for days or even weeks. Intruders always look for signs that a home is unoccupied. The longer the home is unoccupied, the more vulnerable it becomes. If you are away for an extended period of time, police advise that you have someone house sit.

Follow these tips for keeping your house secure while you’re away:
 Inform local police of your absence and leave a contact name and number.
 Check all doors and windows are securely locked.
 Ask your neighbours to watch for visitors but not to tell visitors you are away.
 Arrange a friend or neighbour to mow the lawn and water the plants.
 Arrange for mail to be held at the Post Office or collected by a neighbour.
 Cancel all deliveries, especially newspapers.
 Ask your neighbours to collect junk mail.
 Secure your garbage bin.
 Install electrical timers that automatically switch on lights and tune your radio to a talkback program during the day so you house looks and sounds “normal”.
 Disconnect the electrical pad on radio controlled or electronic garage doors and use a strong auxiliary key lock instead.
 Turn down the volume of your telephone ringer and don’t leave a message on your answering machine that tells callers you’re away.
 Install external sensor lights.
 Check the yard to ensure no ladders or tools are accessible.
 Don’t leave keys concealed outside the house. Give them to a trusted friend or neighbour.
 Ask neighbours to contact police if they notice anything suspicious.
 Secure your vehicle if leaving it at home.
 Ask a neighbour to park their car in your driveway at different times.
 Ensure all easily removable articles are marked using the Property Identification System.

If you’re a member of Neighbourhood Watch, inform your neighbours and block coordinator that you will be away.

SOURCE: Victoria Police, NSW Police Force, Queensland Police
Real Estate Dynamics Property News December2015/January 2016