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Simple Security Tips When Relocating To Another Country

Updated 30 May 2016

Imagine the scene. You have just arrived in a new country after hours sitting on a plane. You are jetlagged and exhausted from moving all your belongings. 

Relocating to another country can be unnerving. Not only do you have the hassles of moving but you will need to adapt to the local culture of the country. Two big changes stacked on top of one another can be overwhelming for most people. The last thing on your mind is your home’s security.

Nobody wants to move to a new country only to become the victim of a home robbery, so be sure to take precautions. People who move to a new country can, unfortunately, be targeted by local thieves. Many criminally active members of the country’s society prey upon those who are trying to adhere to local customs. They exploit newly arrived individuals and can often play upon a person’s trust. As a general rule of thumb, always take the necessary precautions.

Here are some security tips when moving to a new country.

Do your research

  • Before moving into a new home, make sure you do your research of the local area. Check to see if there are any crime statics online of the city you are moving to. It is always a good idea to research the local demographic as well.

  • If you do know someone that lives in the city you are planning to move to, ask them questions about local areas you are looking at. Their local knowledge can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Once you have found your new home, you will need to take the home's security into consideration.

Get to know your neighbours

Developing a strong relationship with your neighbours can make a massive difference when transitioning to a new country. They can show you the ins and outs of the local community, and be a great resource for learning more about the culture. They can also develop into lifelong friends.

Another great benefit is they can keep an eye on your home. If they see any suspicious behaviour, they can alert you or the authorities.

Find out about the local emergency services

Individuals who are moving to a new country should become familiar with the local law enforcement agencies. Memorise phone numbers and affiliated locations before settling into your place of residence. Should an emergency arise, you should be well versed in quickly contacting the proper authorities.

Research local tradespeople

There is going to be a time when you will need a tradesperson such as a plumber, locksmith or electrician. Fraud can be quite common in these professions depending on the country you are living in.

Be prepared and find some tradespeople before you need them. Know ahead of time who to call. It is always a good idea to do your research to make sure whoever you hire is reputable and not a scam.

A couple of tips to finding a reputable tradesperson include:

  • Ask your neighbours for names of plumbers, electricians and locksmiths they have used. Jump online and see if you can dig up any information about their business and see if they look legitimate.

  • Are the tradespeople licenced? Find out if it is a requirement in your new country for a tradesperson to be licenced. If so, always double check that any tradesman has a licence on them.

  • When it comes to hiring someone, make sure you get a quote over the phone. Get all the information on extra charges such as a call out fees.

  • When the tradesperson is at your house make sure to get them to requote you before they start the work. If tradespeople in the country are required to have a licence on them, request to see it before they begin.

  • If you are not comfortable with a tradesperson, trust your instincts and cancel the request

  • Don’t pay until you are happy with the job

Learn vital phrases

Knowing vital phrases is key to your safety and security. If you haven’t entirely grasped the local language, make sure you understand at least the bare minimum to communicate important information.

Apart from the standard ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Where is the restroom?’, phrases you will want to learn include:

  • Help!

  • Emergency!

  • Please call a doctor.

  • Please call the police.

  • I’m at…

Local law enforcement personnel may not be able to translate a person’s language of origin. This is why it’s crucial to be able to effectively communicate the basics in the local language.

Secure your home

There are a number of things you should consider when securing your new home.

  • Make sure your main entrances are of solid wood or metal construction. This will make it hard to kick your doors in.

  • Install locks on all main entrances and windows so they can’t be opened. For you front and back door, I recommend installing a quality double cylinder deadbolt.

  • Install a working security alarm

  • Consider security lighting. If a motion sensor is triggered then a light will illuminate an area. The last thing a burglar wants is attention brought to their actions.

  • Advertise that your home is secure. Don’t mention make and model of your security system. Keep the information generic.

  • Remove potential hiding places from your front yard. Trim large shrubs and remove them if they conceal windows or entrances from the street.

  • Don’t show off things of value. Close your curtains at night, and don’t leave the box to your new wide screen TV sitting outside on the curb.

  • Get a safe and bolt it to the floor. This is your last layer of defence. Keep important documents such as passports and visas as well as jewellery and cash hidden away safety in your security safe.

  • Check to see how the local culture responds to the use of security devices. It is important not to offend neighbors with the use of common security devices. If you think this might offend your neighbours, make sure that any security you have installed is done discretely.

By following these tips you can be sure that moving into your new home overseas is as safe and secure as possible.

– Article written May 2016

Nathan Hughes Our Expat Expert

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