With the holidays quickly approaching, our focus turns toward celebrating the joys of the season making it easy to forget the holiday season is also a time or opportunity for potential burglars. So, while you are preparing for upcoming dinner parties and holiday gatherings, don’t forget to take time to protect your home. According to a retired veteran of the police force many people let their guard down during the holiday season thinking crime won’t happen to them. In reality, all of us are at risk.
So what can you do to protect your home? Below are seven tips to help protect your home and belongings during the holiday season.
1. Get in the habit of changing your view on safety every year when you start changing your everyday home décor to holiday themes. And better still, modesty and simplicity is the best policy. Expensive holiday decorations and elaborate holiday light displays can signal to criminals there may be valuables inside your home making it worth the criminal’s time to break-in. Furthermore, leaving wrapped gifts under the tree in full view from exterior windows and doors make a welcome invitation for thieves. Instead of placing packages under the tree, keep them tucked away in closets and attics out of sight until the last minute. This is one of the easiest safety precautions to follow.
2. Keep your home well-lit and well-groomed inside and out. Not only will your home look nice from the street but it is an important safety measure. The more lighting you have in your home and yard, the less places for criminals and thieves to lurk and hide. In addition, tree branches should be trimmed up at least six feet off the ground and shrubs and bushes trimmed down to no more than three feet tall. This allows a clear view of your yard from inside the house and from the street minimizing places for burglars and thieves to hide.
3. Whether you are at home or out on a quick trip to the grocery store, keep all windows and doors locked including the garage door and the service door between the garage and the home. Burglars know the holiday season is an opportune time for breaking-in as many homes have extra valuables inside not to mention extra cash on hand.
4. If you plan on traveling for the holidays take advantage of a home security system if possible. If you already have one, you’re in good shape. If you don’t have a home security system, consider installing one. It is a worthwhile investment. If you cannot afford a security system, set your lights and TVs on timers. Have them turn on and off in various parts of the home throughout the day and evening. Ask a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance that someone is coming and going from your home. Also ask a neighbor to collect the mail and newspapers or stop these services during the time you will be traveling. Notify your local police department and them know the dates you’ll be gone. Ask them to drive past your house occasionally. If you decide have a neighbor park in your driveway, identify the vehicle to the police.
5. If you are traveling during the holiday season, only mention your trip to those who absolutely must know you’ll be gone. Likewise, do not post this information via social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t take much legwork for potential burglars to identify you and figure out your address.
6. In a similar manner, do not mention valuable gifts using social media. A post like, “Got a 52-inch flat screen,” becomes common knowledge instantly. If a criminal is watching your house, the minute you leave to go to work, the post office or a holiday party, your new flat screen is as good as gone.
7. And for those who don’t use social media, don’t be so sure the public doesn’t know about your 52-inch flat screen. As soon as you put the empty box next to the trash can at the curb, the whole neighborhood will know what is inside your house. Be cautious when throwing away packaging from “big ticket” items. Burglars know what to look for. If they notice any packaging from valuable items with your curbside trash, you are inviting them inside. Instead of throwing away the whole box, break the box down. Cut it up in smaller pieces and dispose of it a little bit at a time as not to draw attention to it. If you can, recycle a few pieces of the box each week instead of throwing it away.
While you may be looking forward to celebrating the holiday season, The House Plan Shop recommends you add these home safety precautions to your holiday “to-do” list.