Keeping your Home Safe During the Holidays
You’re not the only one who likes it when you leave for vacation during the holidays. Thieves love it, too.
There are roughly 2.5 million burglaries a year, two-thirds of which are home break ins. In fact, according to a 2017 report on crime statistics from the FBI, a burglary happens roughly every 23 seconds, or 3,757 burglaries a day. It is the second-most common crime behind larceny-theft.
We’ve all seen Home Alone where the family flies to France during the Christmas break, and two robbers take advantage of their absence. It can be someone’s worst nightmare. So how do you protect your home during the holidays? Some simple safety precautions will go a long way:
1. Give the Right Allusion
Houdini and David Copperfield are masters of allusions– making people think something is there when it isn’t. Become your own master of allusion by making your home appear as though someone, or some people, are occupying the residence. Burglars are less likely to break into a home if there’s a threat of being caught.
Remember how Kevin from Home Alone simulated a party at his house? No, we’re not suggesting you go to such drastic lengths as that, but you can do a few things to give the allusion that someone is home:
- If there’s snow, make sure to hire someone to clear your sidewalks and driveway. Clear sidewalks and driveways imply someone is living there.
- Put your mail and newspapers on hold until you return. Nothing screams “vacancy” like a stuffed mailbox or a pile of newspaper on the driveway.
- Install an outdoor motion detector light.
- Keep your curtains and blinds closed so nobody can see inside.
- Depending on how long you are absent, ask a friend or neighbor to check in periodically.
- Install a video doorbell like Ring. Not only will this alert you with any type of movement near your front door, but you can also communicate with whoever’s there through an app on your smartphone.
- Leave one of your vehicles parked outside (just make sure that a neighbor clears off any snow that might accumulate during your absence).
- Leave a radio on in your garage or in the house. Thieves are less likely to approach a home that has noise and implies someone is there.
2. Make your Home Secure
Countless people assume that because they live in a “nice area” that they dont need to take the same precautions as others. But sometimes criminals look for the “nice areas” as their next targets, so be sure you lock up tight.
Burglars typically tend to look for homes with easy entrance– unlocked doors, windows, pet doors, or through the garage. Before you leave, make sure every door and window is securely closed and locked, even second story windows. Place all of your valuables in a locked safe. Remove any hidden spare keys and instead, leave a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor.
Disconnect your garage door to prevent burglars from entering through, and make sure all windows (even garage windows) have frosted film or blinds covering them. Some people will even zip tie the automatic garage door to disable it and prevent thieves from gaining entry. (Click here to see how).
Many homes are easily broken into from the door being kicked in (that’s what Marv did…). To prevent this, install a Door Devil which reinforces door jamb hinges and the door itself.
If your budget allows for it, you can also install a security system or some other type of home monitoring system. Many security systems come with yard signs to display–thwarting off potential burglars. Make sure to display them where they’re visible. Even if you can’t afford a home monitoring system, several home improvement stores sell home security signs as well. Advertise your home as if you do have a security system.
3. Keep a Low Profile
We get it, it’s an exciting time. Whether you’re excited for what you bought your husband or kids for Christmas, or that you’re excited to catch a break on your upcoming exotic cruise, refrain from sharing that information publicly. Savvy burglars will watch for what you post on social media. Don’t advertise your absence or the valuables you bought as gifts as this only lures criminals to visit your home. There’s no need to put a target on your house!
Don’t worry, you’re okay to tell your close friends and family about the upcoming vacation, but refrain from sharing it on social media until you’ve returned home. Publicly announcing your home’s assets or vacancy will only invite danger to your home.
Nobody wants to return from a nice and relaxing vacation to learn they’ve been robbed. Follow these three basic precautions to help ensure your home is safe during the holiday season.