Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day we hear of a neighbor who has endured a break-in and theft. While you can’t protect your home from a truly determined burglar, here are 8 Great Holiday Home Security Tips to make your home less attractive to criminals looking for an easy target!
1. Lock those doors and windows: As simple as it sounds, the holidays can be chaotic and people forget to lock up. Make sure you lock your doors when you leave the house and when you go to bed, using your alarm system if you have one. Don’t run your holiday light extension cords out through windows or doors, it’s a fire hazard as well as being a beacon to burglars looking for easy entry points.
2. Don’t advertise online: Whether it’s discussing your travel plans on Facebook, posting photos of your cool new gifts on Instagram, or tweeting about the incredibly long midnight service at church…it all says “easy mark/big payday” to the bad guys. Save the posts and tweets for after the vacation. If you can’t resist social media, at least make sure you talk about your (imaginary) Cousin Ted, the police officer who is staying at your house through the holidays. No one wants to come home to a freezing cold house with the back door wide open and all the presents gone!
3. Be discreet at home: Before and after the gifts are opened, take care not to draw attention to your goodies. A big bay window in the front of your house is a beautiful spot to display your Christmas tree or menorah, but make sure the pile of gifts is out of sight. No need to tempt thieves with a possible bonanza of expensive gifts.
4. Recycle smarts: Are you buying the family a huge tv or game system for the holidays? After it’s opened, break down the box and turn it inside out before recycling it. Nothing is more likely to attract a criminal than a sign placed on your curb announcing all your most expensive new toys!
5. Good garage habits: Be careful to keep your garage door closed when not in use. It’s tempting to think you’ll only be gone a few minutes or to allow the kids to leave it open during hours of winter play. Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about the valuable cars and tools that can be stolen right out of our garages. Not to mention, many of us forget to lock the door that leads from the garage into the house, so an open garage door gives a very attractive entry option to criminals.
6. Use your lights: With today’s smart home automation systems and timers, you can make your home look lived in from a continent away! Whether you choose a timer and schedule your interior and holiday lights, or whether you control both from an app on your phone, thieves will bypass the house that looks lived-in for the one whose owners are obviously on vacation.
7. Good neighbors: Neighbors are your best resources for home security over the holidays. If you’re traveling, a neighbor can bring in your mail, keep your sidewalk and driveway clear, and care for pets. We know of at least one good neighbor who parks in a traveler’s driveway to make the home look occupied! When you know your neighbors, they’re more likely to notice something amiss, too, such as an open door or window that shouldn’t be.
8. Ask for protection: If you do travel for the holidays, consider notifying your local police department. Many offer increased drive-bys from your neighborhood patrol units, some will even check on your home daily. It’s worth asking if your police department offers such services.
The Columbus Team wishes you a very happy, safe, and secure holiday season!