For most people, the holidays are a time of celebration and family gatherings. For thieves, it is an opportunity for crime. Expensive items are at their easiest to find, steal, and sell. Electronics, jewelry, small gifts, and gift cards are ripe for the taking and guaranteed to be new. So what reduces the chances of a household burglary? Here are seven key steps to take:
Lock the doors, windows, and garage
The most obvious tip to securing your home is to lock all entry points. The door and window frames need to be durable in order for the locks to be effective. It seems like common sense to lock the doors when leaving your home, but frequently it is the short trip to the store that gives burglars the 10 minutes needed to ransack the house. Holiday gifts are often in plain view, requiring little time to grab and dash before you return home. Be mindful that thieves sometimes knock on doors to see if someone is home. If there is no answer, they turn the knob and enter if unlocked. When someone does answer, they pretend like they have the wrong house.
Give a key to the neighbor
Too often keys are hidden under a doormat, stone, or flower pot for holiday guests to let themselves in while you are out. These are the first places burglars will check. If a key is found, they will quickly enter and help themselves to holiday gifts.
Keep the garage remote in a safe place
Leaving a car in the driveway with a garage remote in plain sight is another fast entry for a burglar. Make sure the remote is hidden, or even better inside the house if you are away for an extended period. The car alarm should also be functioning and be in good working order.
Make your house look occupied
Burglars look for vacant house signs, such as driveway fliers, full mailboxes, unmowed lawns, and unvaried lighting. While away for the holiday, enlist your neighbor to pick up your mail and fliers. Also have them pull into your driveway on snowy days to leave tracks. Have someone cut your grass if necessary. Install motion sensor lighting for your driveway. Also, use timers for indoor and outdoor lighting to give the appearance of occupancy.
Use a security system
Make sure your security system is on when you are gone and that the security signs are visible from the road. Burglars may be deterred from breaking into your house if they see a security sign posted.
Dispose of gift packaging discretely
After the holidays, many boxes are put outside for the trash. However, this is advertising the great gifts to be found inside. Burglars are interested in opportunities to steal items which can be easily converted into cash and boxes let them know what is available. The best practice is to break down the boxes and hide the labels so as to not tempt anyone.
Notify the police and neighbors
If you are gone for the holidays, notify the policy and neighbors so they can be extra vigilant. The police will take time to cruise by your house while you are gone.
To learn more about home security during the holiday season, contact All Secured.