The festive season, especially the end of the year/the new year is a time to look forward to. It’s a time of merriment, holidaying, family picnics and all sorts of fun. But unfortunately it is also a time when crime rates go up drastically especially in the cities. Therefore, it is a time to be more vigilant and more careful with our belongings and properties. So, let’s check out a few tips for safety and security during this festive period.
1. ENSURE DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE LOCKED
This season, homes can be vulnerable to burglars, particularly when they are unoccupied in the late afternoon and early evenings. When leaving the house unattended, make sure all the windows and doors are locked. Pay particular attention to doors and windows at the rear of the house. And if you have a shed or garage, do not forget to lock them even if your house is fenced.
2. ILLUMINATE THE ENVIRONMENT
I know most of us don’t have regular power supply, but if you are one of those people who can afford an inverter, try and illuminate your surroundings at night. Burglars like the dark, but an outside automated light can act as a good deterrent. Also remember to switch off the lights inside the house when going to bed or going out.
3. KEEP THINGS OUT OF SIGHT
Ensure that car keys are kept hidden out of sight especially if you live in estates where apartments are not fenced, and don’t leave keys to your house under a plant pot outside or a door mat. If you have to make a duplicate key for everyone, please do so. Also make sure presents are kept out of sight and after presents have been opened, dispose of the boxes properly to ensure the contents of the house aren’t being advertised unintentionally.
4. RUN A CHECK ON YOUR SECURITY SYSTEMS
If you have security systems in your house, this season is a good time to run a check and ensure they are still working properly. If you use the service of a security firm and you have alarms fixed in your house, it is advised you run a security drill. Set off the alarm and see how soon your security company will respond. A lot of houses will be empty this season and most especially on December 31st and you don’t want a response time of 1 hour if any intruder was in your house. The drill will let you know if the time agreed as ‘response time’ is adhered to, or if you have to start looking at hiring another security firm.
5. DON’T BE ‘TOO’ DISCREET
While most of us would like to just sneak out and come back because we don’t want everyone to know about our movement, informing your neighbours that you are not going to be around for a few days might help you in the long run. You don’t have to tell them where you are travelling to, but if they know you are not home, and no one is going to be in your house while you are not there, they would be able to interrogate anyone seen around your property/house.
6. CLEAR ALL TOOLS AROUND THE HOUSE
So many people are moving into their new homes in a new neighbourhood just before this festive season. If you are one of them, ensure you don’t leave ladders, spades or tools of any kind outside, as they can be used to gain access into your compound and break into your house.
7. GO CASHLESS
When you go to do your shopping, try not to carry around large sums of cash, use your credit and debit cards instead. It is easier to replace the cards than to get back the cash that you lost or were robbed of.
8. DON’T EXPOSE YOUR PURCHASES
When you buy your Christmas presents, be it gadgets or any other thing, do not leave them on the car seat especially while your car is parked or even while you are driving in traffic. If you have a car that has trunk space, put them in the trunk so they are not seen. And if your car doesn’t have much truck space, put the goods on the floor of the car to hide them from the public glare as much as you can.
9. DRIVE SAFELY
If you are travelling at this period, make sure your car is in top shape. And unless you know all the police check points on the highway you are travelling, it’s advisable you travel during the day. If you are travelling in the afternoon, do not stop if anyone waves any item at you claiming it fell off your car. Always make sure you get to a safe area before you park and check. Ensure you do not drink and drive, obey the road signs and the speed limit and ensure that all passengers in your vehicle are properly secured using seatbelts, and all other safety devices.
The festive season should be a time of relaxation and giving but let’s ensure that we are not giving our belongings to criminals on a golden platter, and we do not lose our lives due to our recklessness.
About the author: Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at www.chrisbamidele.wordpress.com and tweets @Chrisbamidele.