Break-Ins Spike During the Holidays
According to the FBI, there are some 400,000 burglaries over the holiday season. To avoid becoming a statistic:
1. Remove temptation
When you place gifts under the tree, make sure that they are not visible from the outside of your home. All those presents are a beacon to would-be burglars looking to score easy electronics and other items.
On a related note, if you’ve just purchased a new xBox, tablet, TV, or other pricey gift, make sure that you don’t leave the boxes on the curb for trash pickup. Again, this shines a spotlight on your home as a good target for burglars.
2. Add strategic lighting
Thieves want the protection that darkness offers — and with the shorter days and longer nights, they have ample opportunity to enter homes unnoticed. Motion activated lights or flood lights throw a wrench in their plans and help keep your property and family protected.
3. Put your lights on a timer
Whether you’re away for the evening or taking off to visit friends and family over the holidays, an unlit house all but rolls out the welcome mat for thieves. Make sure your exterior lights and a few interior lights are on a timer so your home appears occupied.
4. Be careful about social media posts
“Just scored the last [insert name of latest, greatest, hottest holiday toy] in town!” “Can’t wait to go to Hawaii for the holidays!” We don’t blame you for being excited! But your friends aren’t the only ones following you; potential burglars use this information to plan their own holiday “shopping.”
5. Secure your valuables
If burglars are lured in by gifts, there’s nothing to stop them from looking for other items to steal. Stow cash, jewelry, and other valuables in a lockbox or safe and keep it out of sight.
6. Be cautious with door to door solicitors
Charitable donations also spike during the holiday season as people seek to give back to their communities. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of this. If you get a knock on your door from someone looking for a donation, politely decline.
There is no way to know if they actually work for the charity or what they will do with your money. You can always give online to a legitimate charity. Some scammers may also ask you to fill out a survey. What they’re really looking for is information on when you’re going to be away from home.
7. Install or upgrade your home security system
Give yourself the best holiday present: peace of mind. A comprehensive home security system offers 24/7 monitoring, security cameras, sensors for your doors and windows, glass break detectors, and smart lock capabilities. If you have family visiting, for example, you don’t have to worry about giving out sets of keys or leaving the doors unlocked. You can simply give them a code.
Theft is not the only danger of which you need to be aware:
8. Watch for fire hazards
December is the deadliest month for electrical fires. When hanging lights, inspect the strands for fraying and cracked bulbs. If you’re buying new lights, look for independent testing (e.g. Underwriters Laboratory) to ensure they meet stringent safety standards.
9. Clean your furnace and chimney
Unclean furnaces are not only inefficient, they can be dangerous. Prior to the start of the heating season, have your system cleaned and inspected by a certified technician.
10. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases in the winter (another very important reason to have your furnace cleaned!). Known as the “silent killer,” CO is tasteless, odorless, and colorless; you will not realize you have a leak, which is why a functioning detector is so critical.
When you’re prepared and aware of risks, you can effectively manage them. The holidays should be a time for celebration, fun, togetherness, joy — and lots of yummy treats. When you take steps to protect your family and home, they will be! Contact the Integrity Security team to talk about your home security needs.