Are you between the ages of 20 and 35 years, live alone, love your gizmos and post your plans on social media? Then you fit the profile of a person whose house could easily be broken into once you leave for that Easter getaway.
Security firm Securex says that home burglars are developing elaborate profiles of would-be victims and tracking their social media pages to determine the most opportune time to ransack their houses.
The four-day Easter holiday provides just such an opportunity. With most young people unlikely to be at home, the burglars will have an easy time, especially if you confirm on social media that you’ll be away.
“Posting your itinerary on Facebook just lets a potential burglar know when to come over to your place, and how long they have before you return,” the security company says in a brief.
It adds that most people between the ages of 20 and35 are likely to have an array of gizmos that the burglars are eyeing.
“A typical household belonging to a youth would have an expensive television, home theatre sound system, a computer, and a decoder, amongst other valuable items,” Securex says.
“On the other hand, the youth are perceived to be the least likely to invest in securing their homes. A quick spot-check would reveal few have more sophisticated security than a singular padlock,” it adds, noting that “A simple padlock is child’s play for the determined burglar.”
You are also likely to be targeted if you live in an easily accessible house. Those who live in gated communities are likely to have more organised security and a perimeter fence. This limits the escape routes for a burglar, increasing the perceived risk of getting caught.
“Burglars prefer houses that are easily accessible, perhaps next to a road or shopping centre that is buzzing with activity, where it will be easier to escape after a raid,” Securex says.
Families that have also just moved into a new home are also likely to be targeted before they develop a strict security regime, install an alarm system or change locks.
“Or better still, your neighbours are yet to know you, hence reducing the risk of a nosy neighbour reporting any suspicious activity,” adds the security company
Homes that look unoccupied are also inviting to burglars. Securex says that those keen to steal from your house are not very keen on confrontation and are likely to look for soft targets.
An unoccupied home presents a perfect opportunity for a thief to score. There are several ways to make your absence not so apparent
One is getting someone to house-sit (stay in your house) for the days you’ll be away.
If this is not possible, get a trusted neighbour to make your house look “lived in.” Ask them to switch your lights on in the evening and switch them off in the morning.
“Ask them to move your car around a bit, or if you will be taking your car, to park theirs in your driveway for a couple of days,” advises the security firm.
“Leave them a spare key to the house, a contact they can reach you on, and the PIN code for your alarm system.
They could even hang their washing on your clothes lines over the weekend just to complete the picture,” suggests Securex.
Make sure that there is proper lighting around your house. This should make it easy for your neighbours to see strangers scouting round your home and report them.