The real Grinch who steals Christmas isn’t a sneering, green book character: it’s the burglar who targets your home around the holidays. According to the FBI, every year there are over 400,000 burglaries in November and December alone. Why are thieves so active over the holidays? Two reasons: 1) many people travel during these months, leaving behind empty houses, and 2) the high value gifts you bought for your friends and family can be stolen and resold.
If you’re away from home for the holidays, here are 10 must-do things to keep your celebrations Grinch-free and your home safe from burglars. And if you’re staying put this winter, keep in mind that all of these tips are great any time you leave your house for more than a day or two.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Be careful where you put your collectibles, gadgets and wrapped presents. If they can easily be seen from a window, move them out of sight. Not only are they targets, but they also tell burglars that your house contains more valuables. On the same note, be careful disposing of boxes from expensive items like plasma TVs and other gadgets. Don’t just leave them out on the curb for anyone to see. Break them down and turn them inside out.
- Fix your outdoor lighting and trim your hedges before leaving. Both increase visibility, which burglars hate. Replace any burned out lightbulbs and tidy hedges and low tree limbs to reduce access and cover.
- Activate your burglar alarm. Monitored alarms that are alert authorities — not just make noise — are effective deterrents and a good investment.
- Beef up your window security. Your windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of your house. Unlike doors, windows typically do not have strong locks. A residential locksmith can give you an idea of what options are available for securing your windows.
- Stop your mail and newspaper delivery. Nothing screams ‘empty house’ like a bunch of newspapers piled up on the driveway.
- Arrange for your driveway to be plowed regularly if you live in a snowy area. Here in Florida, snow doesn’t tend to be an issue. But if you’re in a colder climate, a snowy driveway is a dead giveaway that no one’s home.
- Keep quiet on Facebook or Twitter. It’s tempting to post about your upcoming trip, but unless your security settings are high, your posts are visible to the public. Don’t make assumptions about who might or might not be reading. A burglar who knows that your whole family will be in another state for Christmas is much more likely to target your house.
- Put your appliances on timers to make it appear like someone is at home — or better yet, ask a housesitter or friend to stay over part or all of the time. At minimum, get a neighbor to put out your garbage cans on garbage day (and take them back in). The more occupied your house looks, the less attractive it is to a burglar.
- Remove your spare key if you keep one outside. It’s really not a good idea to have a spare key under the door mat or a conspicuously fake rock by the front door. Burglars know where to look. However, if you do have a spare key lying around outside, put it away before you leave. And find a better place for it when you come back! Leaving your spare with a trusted neighbor or friend is a much better bet than the door mat.
- Lock all your windows and doors before leaving. Obvious, but worth mentioning. Check everything — side doors, sliding doors, garage doors. And leave your phone number with your neighbors if they see anything suspicious in your absence.
Does your home security need a boost for the holidays? Call Pop-A-Lock today at 904-354-8566 for reliable, honest
residential locksmith services in Jacksonville. Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season!