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Don’t relax your guard when relaxing outdoors

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With summer well on its way people are heading outdoors to entertain in their gardens or on patios.

But while the weather makes for perfect outdoor living, says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager for Fidelity ADT, residents shouldn’t become complacent about security.

“We see an increase in doors and windows being left open at this time of year which, sadly, creates the perfect opportunity for criminals to gain easy access to homes.”

The lead-up to the festive season is typically a time when there is an increase in the number of burglaries and armed robberies.

“Criminals often take advantage of times when the family is home preparing for lunch, dinner or hosting a party or a braai. The fact that someone is home does not scare off criminals because they know during these times residents are at their most relaxed and least security conscious.

“The noise of cooking, TVs and kids playing can help conceal criminal activity. More importantly, criminals also know that at these times the alarm is generally not activated,” says Hattingh.

To help you enjoy the outdoor and entertainment seasons safely, she offers some tips:

* If you keep doors and windows open, make sure they are protected by burglar bars or safety gates. Make sure the safety gate is locked at all times.

* Activate your alarm and bypass the areas of your home that are being used, while keeping your outdoor detection beams armed to warn you of anyone entering your property.

* Be mindful of warning signs that something may be amiss, like uneasy pets or noises not consistent with the situation.

* If you plan to head out to the park for a gathering be sure to lock up your house properly and to be vigilant and mindful while at the park. Also have your security provider’s number on speed dial.

* When entertaining at home, consider a casual guard to keep an eye on the property.

“Sometimes the mere presence of a security guard is enough to deter would-be criminals.

“We do see a lot of opportunistic crimes when guests are entering driveways and a proactive guard’s presence can do much to minimise this threat. The guard can watch over your premises and vehicles while your guests enjoy the party,” Hattingh says.

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