In multiracial Malaysia, we have public holidays aplenty to accommodate the different races and religions and Boy, do we love our vacations! Of course we must remember that criminals don’t take breaks and our homes can be easy targets when we’re away for extended periods.
However, all hope is not lost as home owners can try to minimize the chances of a break in by following some guidelines:
• Inform some trusted neighbours. Having friendly neighbours help a lot as they can help you keep an eye on the house and call the police if there are any suspicious activity.
• Add some additional locks and make sure all windows and doors are securely fastened before leaving the house.
• Don’t leave any spare keys in the house or outside. Bring all available keys with you or leave them with a friend or family member.
• Try not to post on social media that you are going on a long holiday. Inform only close family and keep the circle of information
• Let the police know. During major festivals like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Christmas, the Malaysian police will have increased security programs where you can register your house at the nearest police station. Some apartments and condos with security have similar arrangements.
• Don’t leave signs that you are away. Ask a neighbour to collect newspaper or the mail for you and invest in a timer for the lights so that they come on every evening and shut off in the morning
• Be sure to turn off heated and dangerous electrical items like the oven and unplug your gas supply to avoid an accidental case of fire.
• Invest in a CCTV that allows remote viewing. That way, you can check up on the situation at home even when you’re a million miles away through the magic of the internet.
• Buy and install a home alarm system that can alert you wherever you are in the world in case there is a break in. A home alarm that emits loud noises can also help scare away thieves.
• Don’t leave things like ropes or ladders outside your house as thieves can use these to access upper floors or roofs.
Remember that living in a gated and guarded community or apartment with security greatly reduces the risk of a break in. However, house owners have to be proactive and take some measures themselves.
More importantly, be a good neighbour and help keep an eye out for suspicious activity when you’re home. That way, you can be sure that your neighbours will return the favour when you’re on holiday.