How safe is your home for the holidays?

Avoid rookie mistakes that could invite burglars into your home while you are away

Rajesh and Shraddha Kapoor spent last summer making memories on a whirlwind trip, sightseeing across Europe with their two children.
 
But the post-holiday glow faded as soon as they opened the door to their Bur Dubai home, which had been burglarised in their absence.
 
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, an emotional Shraddha said: “I lost everything that I held precious; my mom’s jewellery, my father’s watch and the engagement ring that my husband had given me.”
 
The Kapoor’s stolen items have yet to be recovered, but their case isn’t an anomaly in this city.
 
A similar case came forward last year too, which saw Manjari Yug’s summer break turn into a nightmare when upon returning from Kolkata, when she discovered her home had been broken into.
 
“I used to live in the Old Pakistani Consulate area. We returned home from the holidays only to find our wardrobes open and all my jewellery gone, along with the video camera and other precious things,” she said. “The police were called in and they took fingerprints and speculated the burglars had broken in through the small bathroom window that overlooked the outside corridor.
 
“I was called back to the police station three times to identify jewellery, but none of it was mine.”
 
Yug’s apartment was one of five that was burglarised in the same building – several of whom had also gone away for the summer – discovering their homes had been robbed while they were away.
 
As reported in the media earlier, Dubai police records indicated thefts accounted for 1,804, or a staggering 72 per cent, of the 2,485 crime cases reported in 2010; many of these involved house burglaries.
 
To combat such high statistics, experts warn residents to practice street smartness when packing up for the summer.

Lock up
 
Invest Dh50-Dh100 in good locks on your doors and windows and seal it up tight
 
Inform your neighbours
 
Tell a neighbour you trust that you are heading out of town for the holidays, especially if you are living in a villa.
 
You may want to leave your contact information and a key should an emergency arise in your absence.
 
Each can offer to look out for each other’s home when travelling or offer to mow their lawn or buy them a nice meal in exchange.
 
Take out that spare key
 
Before travelling, please take out that extra key hidden away under the mat, in the flowerpot or on the ledge above the door. Those are the most obvious places a thief will look or even someone in your building.
 
Stop the newspaper
 
If you have the news being delivered to your doorstep, call and put it on hold for the time you are away, as opposed to it piling up. If there is any sure sign that nobody’s home, a stack of old papers certainly marks the spot.
 
Go silent on social media
 
All social media junkies will vouch that every minute detail of their day can find its way onto Facebook or Twitter.
 
Announcing on a public forum that you are off for the holidays can certainly perk up the ears of anyone who is interested in using this knowledge to their gain.
 
For that matter, it would be smart to do the same on your answering machines or voice mail.

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(Image courtesy Shutterstock)

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