Black Friday has come and gone but holiday shopping is in full swing as we count down the days until Christmas. Just in case you were wondering, you have 22 shopping days left to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. I love the holiday season. There is nothing like seeing the lights and decorations on peoples’ homes, the sounds of music and laughter, and even the scents of cookies baking or a Christmas tree in its stand.
While most of us celebrate, there are those who look to take advantage of others. Break-ins occur during this time of year, and it’s not just cars. Thieves break in to homes too. Here are 6 steps you can take to prevent a home break in during a time of year we should be celebrating.
Lock all Openings: Take a moment to check each window and door and make sure they’re locked. Even windows on a second story should be locked. Criminals would rather not attract attention by breaking glass or kicking in a door. There are too many home burglaries that occur because a window or door was unlocked.
Use Automatic Timers: Buy several automatic timers and put them on various lights in different rooms. Set them to come on and go off at different times so it appears someone is moving from one room to another and they mimic what you do when you’re home. Save one of the timers to put on a TV or radio. That sound alone will make most burglars believe someone’s home. Do not, however, put one on a Christmas tree. No tree should ever be lit when no one’s home.
Don’t Advertise: Gifts should not be visible from any open window or door. Many people love to open a front window to display a lit tree as a part of their holiday decorations. If you do this, don’t put presents around the tree until Christmas Eve. Why tempt someone to window shop your home with beautifully wrapped presents under a tree or in gift bags from popular stores?
Once gifts are open, be sure to break the boxes down and / or cut them up into smaller pieces and place them into opaque trash bags before setting them out for pick up. Sticking boxes of a flat screen TV or other popular items out at the curb or in the alley also advertises what you have and invites unwanted attention.
Package Delivery: If you’re ordering presents from your favorite online store, have them delivered to your office. Having them delivered to your home when no one’s there invites someone to take them, and you may also avoid having a bad delivery experience. If you can’t do that, schedule the delivery for a day when you’ll be home and have to sign for it.
If you have family who live in other cities, be sure to communicate where you want gifts shipped, ask them for their preference, and have them let you know when a gift’s on its way. Coordinating your efforts helps protect you and those loved ones far away.
Travel Planning: If you’re traveling during the holidays, be sure to have your mail and paper delivery stopped and held until your return. This too advertises you’re away and invites unwanted attention.
Communicate the dates you’ll be away with the neighborhood watch, trusted neighbors, and even the local police precinct. They’ll keep an eye out for anything unusual. Have one of your trusted neighbors pick up any packages delivered in your absence, remove all door hangers, and park a car out front or in the drive way to make it appear someone’s home.
Social Media: With the advent of social media, we love to share what we’re doing and experiencing. Hold off on sharing you’re away and what you’re doing on that special trip until after you return. Posting what you’re doing on Facebook, Google +, or Twitter only announces you’re away and provides an invitation to be robbed.
I hope you have an incredible holiday season and enjoy it to the fullest. With a little fore thought, you can help minimize the chance of being broken into and dealing with a loss that could ruin your holidays. Have a suggestion, comment, or question you’d like to share? Post them in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you!