By Emma Brannam for Newshub Connect
The school holiday kicks off this weekend, a time when thousands of Kiwis will head for the bach or overseas, hoping their home and contents will be safe while they're away.
"A few years ago, we were burgled and they took all sorts of things, including toys," says Sarah Campbell, a mother of three. "It was very distressing, particularly for the kids."
With burglaries in New Zealand rising nearly 12 percent over the past year, people can't afford to be complacent with home security.
"We were six boys living in a university flat in Christchurch. With so many people coming and going it was a nightmare to keep a large house secured," says Taylor Howatson. "A door was left unlocked and a burglar took advantage, stealing multiple electronic devices."
There are plenty of high-tech home security systems to choose from, but here are some some free tips and low-cost tech ideas.
Next year, an innovative, low-cost window sensor called Hatch will go on sale. It's the first product from a company called Wireless Guard, set up by Mr Howatson and his friends in response to being burgled.
Hatch is able to tell if doors or windows are unlocked or open, and can work independently or as part of a bigger system. The team is working with global business accelerator Vodafone xone to commercialise it.
"Our focus is on preventative security, ensuring the burglar never gets into the property," said Mr Howatson.
There's a word of caution from security experts though - most smart devices connect to people's Wi-Fi, so it's important to make sure home Wi-Fi networks are secure.
Default passwords should always be changed when installing new gear, and as nearly all devices are controlled by an app, passcodes on your smartphones are also a must.
This article was created by Newshub Connect for Vodafone. For more on Wireless Guard and other Kiwi innovators check out Vodafone xone.