Summer is finally here and the festive season is upon us. This time of the year marks the start of family, fun and vacations! But while you’re counting down the days until you can haul out the suitcases and sunscreen, the holiday safety of your home should be at the top of your list.

According to the Institute for Security Studies, house robberies are more likely to occur during the summer holiday when people have their guard down, spend more time outside with their doors open or leave their home unoccupied.

“Criminals follow opportunities in terms of people and places. In the case of house burglaries, the opportunity is greater when people are away at work or on holiday… House robberies increased in the months leading up to the festive season, starting in October and remained high in December, dropping off by about in January,” the ISS said.

In order to enjoy peace of mind on your holiday, you have to take safety measures and ensure that your home is taken care of.

Here are five tips to keep in mind this festive season:

The most valuable safety asset you can invest in is a trusted network of neighbours. They will be your eyes and ears while you’re away. Their presence in your neighbourhood also acts as a deterrent for opportunistic crime.

You could ask the family next door to check in on your pets or water your plants. You may even want to give them a spare key in case of a household emergency

It is also a good idea to discuss the neighbourhood crime situation with the local police, private security companies and community policing structures. After all, connected neighbours make safer communities.

The last thing you need to worry about on your vacation is whether your home and valuable in it are safe. But being prepared will save you lots of money case something bad does happen. Ensure that your household insurance is up to date.

Make sure you give your garden and especially your front yard a good cleaning before you go away. Overgrown lawn, untrimmed hedges and unruly gardens are a big sign that a house is unoccupied. If you’ll be gone for a long time, have a neighbour attend to your garden. A neat garden, cut back hedges and trees also make it easier for neighbours to see any suspicious activity on your property.

Make sure your lights are turned on around the same time when you’re home. Any change in your usual habits at home could be a sign that your house is empty. Switch to a light timer or ask your neighbours to turn your lights on and off. Leaving your lights on for a long period of time could cost you a lot of money and is an invitation for criminals.

Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. This will help you save power as well. Many appliances draw energy even when they’re turned off.

Remember that connected neighbours make safer communities. Make sure you’re in direct contact with a few of your neighbours. Keep your neighbourhood’s important numbers on hand and stay informed about your neighbourhood even if you’re away.

Visit OurHood now for your safe, private and secure neighbourhood platform. Join today to form trusted connections with your neighbours.