Can you believe it!?! The holiday season is already here and that means it’s time for fun-filled festivities with family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also a prime time of year for burglars to strike. That’s why it’s important to follow some important burglary prevention tips to ensure smiles and safety for your home and loved ones. If you think most burglaries occur during the summer months, think again.
Nearly 400,000 burglaries happen each year in November and December, when homeowners are on vacation or away from home celebrating with relatives.
Want to know more burglary stats? Read 20 alarming burglary facts that should concern you.
It’s hard to imagine someone ruining your holiday season by breaking into your house. But it can—and does—happen. Follow these holiday burglary prevention tips so you don’t become the next victim.
1. Don’t advertise
Going out of town to visit Aunt Lou and Uncle Bob for the holidays? Hitting Disney World during your kids’ winter break? Good for you. But keep that info to yourself. Sharing your travel plans on social media is a bad idea, even if you think you know your network. If the information falls into the wrong hands, your house could become a target for burglary. Instead, gush about your trip once you’ve returned.
Taking a road trip with your children? Read this road trip survival guide for traveling with kids.
2. Check your security
Heading out of town? Do a security check of your home before you leave. Walk the perimeter, and think like a burglar. Are there any easy points of entry or “welcome” signs for a burglar? Test all windows and doors to make sure they are secure, uncompromised, and locked.
3. Don’t leave clues
Burglars love finding clues that tell him or her you’re out of town. Put a hold on mail and newspaper delivery while you’re out of town. An overflowing mailbox, or a pile of newspapers in your driveway, is a dead giveaway you’re out of town. If you’re expecting a package to be delivered, ask a trusted neighbor to pick it up and keep it for you until you return.
4. Utilize home automation
Home automation is a great tool to use when you travel, enabling you to make it look like someone is home. You can use home automation to program lights, your television, or other devices, to come on and off throughout your house. The best part is, if you forget to program the lights before you leave, you can still do it from the road using a smartphone or computer.
Curious how it all works? Learn what home automation is and how it can be beneficial for home security.
5. Trash day tell-all
What do you do with all those boxes and the packaging from holiday gifts? Don’t leave them at the curb for all to see. A burglar can learn pretty quickly by looking at your trash or recycling that you have a new computer, television, or expensive toy or device. Break down boxes as small as possible, or cut them into pieces. Place packaging in garbage bags, or otherwise secure it so the labels don’t show.
6. Notify neighbors
If you have a neighbor or two whom you trust, let them know you’ll be gone on vacation. It’s always good to have a few neighbors on alert to look for any suspicious cars in your driveway, or people lurking about. You can also use neighbors to grab mail or packages for you, or anything that appears unexpectedly on your porch while you’re away.
7. Extension to your home
Whether you’ve got a few holiday lights up, or you have a National Lampoon’s-style display, don’t power them using an extension cord strung through a partially-open window. This is a calling card for a burglar to use that same window to enter your home.
8. Neighborhood watch
If you have a neighborhood watch group in your area, let them know you’ll be out of town. Neighborhood watch groups can be a great resource, giving you peace of mind that people are watching out for suspicious behavior while you’re gone.
9. Alert the police
It also isn’t a bad idea to alert the police if you plan to away. If the police know you’re gone, they could send a cruiser by occasionally to do a vacation check, making sure all is well.
10. Valuable visibility
Go outside your home, and take a look in through all your windows. What do you see? An expensive laptop or stereo? A big-screen television? Pricey electronics or jewelry? Avoid storing or displaying any valuables near the window, or within view of a window. The same goes for doors that offer a view inside. Also, beware leaving holiday presents—opened or not—near a window.
Have a safe and festive holiday season, using these burglary prevention tips to keep your home secure.