Lockdown before sundown

Tips to keep you and your family safe this winter

“Criminal operating hours are extended in winter as darkness sets in earlier, and the sun rises later, giving them ample opportunity to get to work. Aside from the basics like being extra vigilant of suspicious people and activities, there are some safety measures you can take to keep your castle and family safe during winter,” says Wynand van Vuuren, spokesperson for King Price.

With winter just around the corner, Wynand takes us through how to have a safer winter season, and enjoy the long, cool evenings ahead.

Be blackout ready. Because of an increase in heating and lighting, winter places a bigger demand on the national power grid, which means blackouts are a reality you need to prepare for. Be ready with back-up power supplies to keep your lights, gate motors and security systems working at all times.

Don’t let the post box give you away. The winter school holidays are 1 of the longest, so many families pack up and head off to the coast for some sunny beach time. Nothing gives away an unoccupied home more than a pile of letters spilling out of the post box. Ask your neighbours or a reliable friend to clean out the post box every few days, and while they’re there, to do a quick home check.

Keep the curtains closed. If the lights are on and the curtains are open, criminals can easily see what valuable items you have in your home, like that new flat screen TV, while it’s even harder for you to see them if they’re outside. Draw the curtains to stop your home becoming a shopping catalogue, and also keep the heat in, so you’ll save on your electricity bill. Win-win!    

Fire proof your pad. Fires during winter are commonly caused by gas heaters, electrical appliances and that cosy fireplace that’s left burning by mistake. Install smoke detectors, and link them to your alarm system for peace of mind. 

Coming home. Make sure your driveway is well lit. Motion sensors are helpful for lighting up the driveway as you arrive home. And the same goes for public parking spaces… Choose well-lit and security-controlled parking areas. And if you can, keep your trusty steed safely tucked away in a secure garage, always taking your valuables indoors and not leaving them in the boot overnight.

Layer up. Just like wearing lots of layers will help you stay warm in winter, multi-layering your security will offer you more protection. Take that expensive bike you treated yourself to… It’s good to put it behind a door with a padlock, but better to chain it down with a ground anchor and another padlock inside a garage. Think about how you fit the padlock’s chain too; run it through the frame and the wheels, so it stays put. And if you’re still worried, check out some decent insurance for your bike, like the king’s for just R1 a month.

Be a good neighbour. This goes for all seasons… The more eyes and ears we have, the better. Get to know your neighbours, and if you see something dodgy, let them know.

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