Alas, that time of the year is here once again! After almost a month of performing the holy act of Ramadhan, our Muslim and non-Muslim friends alike come together to celebrate Eid al-Fitr (Aidilfitri) – a festival filled with delicious, traditional foods and treats, as well as fireworks.
For most of us, Eid means two things – you’re going to balik kampung or you’ve planned a well-deserved getaway during the upcoming long weekend. Despite your plans, your home is bound to be empty for at least a couple of days.
Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city to for days or weeks is no doubt, truly exciting. However it is also time to take precautionary measures to ensure your home is safe. We believe it’s better to be safe than sorry, so review your home safety before hitting the road. A little vigilance will keep your property and belongings safer while you’re gone. Chances are you won’t be spending every hour or so obsessing about the security of your home with these tips.
# 1: Get a helping hand
Make sure your house is safe by having someone you trust –a conscientious relative or friend – pop by once or twice a day to feed your pets, pick up the newspaper or just casually drive-by to ensure there’s no suspicious activity in or around your home.
Side Tip: Assuming you’re a newsprint person, a pile of unattended newspapers on the doorstep or front gate is a movie cliché for a home that’s unoccupied so either inform your newspaper man to hold off delivery for the next week or let a trusted neighbour come and collect them on your behalf.
# 2: Love thy neighbours
Yes, neighbours play a pretty crucial role, especially when you’re away (if you’re not very sociable, high time to build some neighbourly relationships!). Always leave your primary number with a trusted neighbour so he or she can contact you in case of emergencies.
# 3: Bringing in the mechanics
Installing an electric timer goes a long way in ensuring safety during absence. It automatically switches on and off several lights around your house throughout the day, giving the impression that someone is home. A good investment – especially if you live on your own or far away from anyone close to you who may be able to make frequent visits while you’re away.
Side Tip: If you don’t already have an electric timer, just leave your porch or yard lights on as a brightly lit atmosphere can create more visibility. Spend some time plucking out the lalang, chopping out bushes or rearranging your porch so it leaves more of an open space rather than clutter or blind spots for intruders to hide in.
# 4: Fake it right
Most homes these days are equipped with CCTV cameras. Of course, not all of us can afford state-of-the-art security systems but that shouldn’t stop us from venturing into the creative side.
Two words – Dummy CCTV. Though it’s hard to say how effective it really is, it’s nonetheless a way to deter those from breaking and entering.
# 5: Lock and load
Locking your doors is the first thing people think of when leaving their homes. However, most only think about locking their back and front doors. It’s vital that EVERY single door, no matter how big or small, is on lockdown. Kitchen doors, bathroom doors, window panels – you name it. Even if an intruder manages to break in, these locked doors will prevent them from getting away with ease. Just remember to bring your keys (and all your spares) on your way out!
Side Tip: Again, if you have a trusted neighbour or friend nearby, pass them a spare set of keys should there be an emergency that involves your home.
# 6: Keep it cool
A tell-tale sign for burglars to identify if a house is empty is leaving your home looking too secured or blanketed. With no visible life embodying your home, it would give off your absence altogether. If you don’t usually close your curtains, don’t start doing so.
Strike a good balance between securing your home, and making it look as “normal” as possible.
# 7: Think before you post
Oh how we love social media. Posting frequent updates on Facebook and Instagramming our whereabouts is pretty much the norm. Posting your whereabouts has its perks but it is again, a huge giveaway that your home is empty, especially for those on your friends list. Perhaps minimise what you share or even delay your Eid posts till you have safely returned.
Nothing feels better than knowing that your humble abode is safe during a holiday. By taking these precautions, you can now have a peace of mind on your journey or while chomping down on scrumptious Eid delicacies.
Happy Eid Mubarak from the 2cents family, or as Malaysians would say, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!