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Home Security Tips for the Holidays

Family leaving home with luggage for the holidays

It is considered one of the planet’s most beautiful places in the world, but Australia also has one of the highest burglary rates in the world.

No one wants to think it could happen to them, but theft is a real concern here in Australia.

We’re dedicated to sharing resources and educating our customers on how to reduce the risk of theft.

We put together our list of the top 12 holiday home security tips to keep your home safe even when you’re away.

Key Takeaways

  • Homes that look empty are more likely to be targeted
  • Australia is among the top countries for burglar rates
  • Small steps can make a big impact in keeping your home and possessions safe
  • A professional alarm and security system are one of the most effective ways to protect your home against theft

Theft Statistics in Australia

First, we’ll look at some statistics that emphasise how simple steps can fortify your home against theft.

Theft statistics in Australia:

12 Home Security Tips for the Holidays

Tip Explanation
Check Mail and Move Bin Have a friend or neighbour collect your mail and move your bin regularly to indicate activity.
Timer for Lights Set timers for lights to simulate someone being home.
Leave Radio/TV On Create an impression of occupancy by leaving a radio or TV on for short periods.
House-Sitter Engagement Arrange for a house-sitter to maintain a lived-in appearance and take care of pets, plants, and mail.
Car in Driveway Request a neighbour to park their car in your driveway, suggesting someone is home.
Lawn and Garden Maintenance Keep the lawn mowed and garden tidy to avoid the look of an empty house.
Eliminate Potential Hiding Spots Trim overgrown bushes and install motion lights to reduce concealment spots for burglars.
Secure Windows Ensure all windows are closed and locked, especially when leaving for holidays.
Spare Key Safety Avoid leaving spare keys outside; instead, hand them to a trusted person.
Signs of Life Leave subtle indicators like clothing on a washing line or shoes at the door to imply occupancy.
Secure Outbuildings Lock all sheds and garages to protect tools and equipment.
Alarm and Security System Install a professional system for enhanced security and potential insurance benefits.

Imagine a family that is wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of prepping for Christmas. They’re excited about the holiday, and in their rush to leave, they don’t ask a neighbour to check their mail. And maybe while they’re gone they are updating social media with their whereabouts.

This scenario may seem harmless enough, but these choices can put your home in a vulnerable position.

Instead, just a few simple changes can give you the peace of mind that your home will be safe, even if you’re away on holiday.

Here are 12 simple home security tips for the holidays — or any time you plan to travel.

1. Have a Friend  Check Your Mail and Move Your Bin

A stuffed mailbox is like a giant sign to a thief that says, “No one’s been around here for a while!”.

Don’t let your home become a target this way.

Instead, have a friend or neighbour stop over regularly to grab your mail for you. This also means someone will be around and notice if anything seems amiss.

The same goes for an empty bin hanging out by the road. It signals that no one is around. As with your mail, ask a friend to stop by and move your bin back to your house.

2. Use a Timer for Your Lights

Imagine you are a thief.

Which house would you choose: a dark, empty-looking house or a house with a light that flicks on occasionally as if someone is home.

To a thief, lights that are on signal someone being home. And that means too much risk and instantly decreases the chance of your house being targeted.

Setting a timer for your lights is one of the most tried and true holiday home security tips. It’s incredibly simple yet also effective. Along with setting a timer for your lights, motion lights are another good security measure to implement.

3. Leave the Radio or TV On

Another one of the most simple holiday home security tips is leaving a TV or radio on. The music or noise from the TV may offer enough indication that someone could be home. This may make a burglar think twice if they hear it.

This isn’t ideal for longer holidays, but it can work well if you’re just out and about for a few hours.

4. Find a House-Sitter

If you want the ultimate peace of mind, a house sitter is an ideal choice. Not only is it a serious theft deterrent, but a house sitter can also help you relax on holiday knowing your mail, pets, plants, and home are cared for.

Even if the house sitter isn’t full-time, having someone stop by a couple of times a day can go a long way in decreasing the chance of your home being burglarised.

5. Ask Someone to Park Their Car in Your Driveway

Neighbour's car parked in the driveway of someone on holiday

Here’s one of our favourite holiday home security tips: asking a neighbour to park in your driveway.

Have a friend or a neighbour occasionally park their car in your driveway over your holiday. As with many of these other holiday home security tips, a car parked in the driveway signals to potential thieves that someone is around. And this instantly makes your house look like a less attractive option.

This can work particularly well if you have a neighbour hosting a big family get-together. Offer up your driveway as a space for vehicle overflow. It’s a win-win for both of you!

6. Keep Your Lawn and Garden Cared For

Overgrown grass or bushes can make your house appear empty. Before you leave on holiday, make sure your bushes are pruned, your yard is tidy, and your lawn is mowed.

7. Eliminate Potential Hiding Spots

Thieves love a house surrounded by large bushes or trees or with areas that are concealed or poorly lit.

Cut back any overgrown foliage, install motion lights in possible hiding spots, and eliminate the chance of a thief feeling too comfortable in your yard.

8. Close All the Windows

With this scorching heat we’ve been having, it may be tempting to leave a few windows cracked, especially on the upper levels of your home or in the back of your house.

However, if you’re heading out on holiday, close up and lock all your windows to avoid leaving any vulnerable spots.

9. Remove Any Spare Keys

Have you ever left a spare key under a rock, plant, or near your front door in a hiding spot?

Unfortunately, these are often the first places a thief will look. A spare key is convenient but can also provide an easy way for a thief to gain entry into your home.

If you’re heading out on holiday, grab any spare keys and put them in a secure place inside, bring them with you, or leave them with a friend or neighbour.

10. Leave Some Signs of Life

  1. Clothes on washing line.
  2. Shoes outside door.
  3. Partially open blinds.
  4. No deliveries.
  5. Smart bulb control.Clothes on washing line. Shoes outside door. Partially open blinds. No deliveries. Smart bulb control.

There are easy, subtle ways to make it appear as if someone is at home.

Examples include:

  • Leave a few clothing items hanging on the washing line
  • Leave a pair of shoes outside the front door
  • Rather than closing all your blinds, leave a few of them open (or invest in automated shades)
  • Cancel deliveries (or make sure a friend or neighbour will be picking them up)
  • Consider buying some ‘smart bulbs’ that let you turn on a lamp from your smartphone

11. Lock Garages and Sheds Too

Locking the doors and windows on your home is important but don’t forget your sheds and garages. Keep all storage buildings, sheds, and garages securely locked.

12. Have a Professional Alarm and Security System Installed

There are certain things burglars hate. An alarm system is one of them!

Alarm systems sound a high pitched siren if they are set off and instantly draw attention to your home.

Along with peace of mind, the benefits of installing an alarm system include:

  • Increased protection for you, your loved ones, and your belongings
  • Crime deterrence
  • Possibility for reduced home insurance premiums
  • Convenience
  • Can be controlled remotely
  • May increase your home’s value
  • May shorten response times for medical assistance

Most professional alarm system installers (such as us) offer a free quote with no obligations.

You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide to Home Security Camera Laws in Australia

What NOT To Do When You’re Away

Now that we’ve gone over what TO do when you’re away on holiday and want to protect your house, let’s look at the DON’Ts of home security.

  • Avoid posting pictures and updates of your whereabouts on social media
  • Do not set your timer lights to an obvious pattern (try setting your interior and exterior lights on separate patterns to make it seem more likely someone is home)
  • Avoid leaving a key outside your home (give it to a trusted friend or neighbour)
  • Don’t store presents under a tree near a window that is visible from the street
  • Don’t use an extension cord run through a window to run outdoor lights (this will prevent the window from latching securely)
  • Even when you are back, don’t leave piles of boxes from expensive gifts outside the house (this is like a flashing sign that tells burglars, “There are expensive gifts in here!”)
  • Don’t let tall trees grow too close to your home (consider cutting back any tall trees that could be used to climb up and access your home’s second story)


What are the most effective steps I can take to protect my home from burglary while on holiday?

The most effective steps include having a friend check your mail and move your bin, using timers for lights, leaving a radio or TV on, finding a house-sitter, asking someone to park their car in your driveway, maintaining your lawn and garden, eliminating potential hiding spots, closing all windows, removing any spare keys, leaving signs of life, locking garages and sheds, and installing a professional alarm and security system.

Why is Australia considered a high-risk country for burglaries?

Australia has one of the highest burglary rates in the world due to factors like homes that appear empty being more likely to be targeted, easy access for burglars in some houses, and the presence of valuables that are easy to access, conceal, and sell.

How do burglars choose which houses to target?

Burglars often choose houses based on signs of absence, like overstuffed mailboxes or empty bins, lack of exterior lighting, overgrown gardens, and visible valuables. Homes that seem empty or have easy access points are more likely to be targeted.

Can installing a professional alarm system reduce my home insurance premiums?

Yes, installing a professional alarm system can potentially reduce home insurance premiums due to increased security and lower risk of theft and burglary.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to secure my home?

Common mistakes include posting your whereabouts on social media, setting timer lights to obvious patterns, leaving a spare key outside, storing presents under a tree near a visible window, using an extension cord through a window for outdoor lights, and allowing tall trees to grow too close to your home.


Small steps can make a big difference in keeping your home protected against theft.

By doing little things that make it look like you’re home even when you are away, installing a security system, and having a friend pick up your mail and watch over your house, you can greatly increase your peace of mind while you’re on holiday.

We recommend getting in touch with a professional security system installer such as us to help keep your home and loved ones safe year-round.

If you have any questions about what alarm or CCTV system might be right for you, feel free to get in touch with our security system installers in Perth! We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.