‘Tis the season for giving — and for taking. Unfortunately, the holiday season has become a prime time for criminals to go shopping in unprotected homes.
FBI data shows that burglaries in the United States spike in November and December each year. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends home owners take extra precautions to protect their homes during the holidays. A few proactive measures and common sense can help you enjoy a safer and happier holiday season.
• Whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or a longer haul to finish some holiday shopping, make sure your doors and windows are securely locked.
• Keep your garage door closed at all times. Garage doors are a favorite point of entry for burglars.
• Keep the door from your garage into your home locked as well.
• If you’re traveling, ask a neighbor to collect your mail. Or, you can temporarily stop your mail and newspaper delivery service.
• Nothing is more effective at deterring a burglar than the impression that the home is occupied. Install timers on your lights based on your normal schedule.
• Never share your travel plans on social media. Post your vacation pictures after you’ve returned home.
Don’t Show and Tell
• Never leave boxes from expensive gifts laying on the curb for trash pickup. Consider crushing them and placing them in a large, black garbage bag or covered recycling bin.
• Store valuables like jewelry in a secure place. A home safe can be a great option for storing various valuables including important home and family-related documents.
Maintain Your Yard
• Be sure that your trees and shrubs don’t hide windows and doors. Blocked entrances can make it easier for burglars to get into your home unnoticed by neighbors and passers-by.
• Ensure any tools, ladders and other objects that could be used to break into your home are securely locked up inside the house.
Protect Spare Keys
• Leave spare keys only with trusted family members or neighbors.
• Do not hide keys outside. Burglars are smart enough to look around and know the common places people hide keys.
Be a Good Neighbor
• Most experts agree that your neighbors are your best defense. Get to know them and chances are they will be more likely to watch for suspicious activity around your home while you’re away.