Traveling During the Holidays? Tips for Preparing Your Home

Thursday, 21 November 2019 07:58

‘Tis the season… for burglaries. Not such a merry thought, but it’s a reality of the holiday season. With people traveling to see family and friends and expensive gifts sitting under the tree, it’s no surprise that there is a spike in home burglaries during this time of year. If you’re going out of town, take some proactive steps to keep your home and property safe.

 

Holiday Home Security Tips

Know a Few Key Burglary Statistics

How are some facts and figures going to keep your home protected? Well, if you know when and how burglars typically strike, you can take steps to focus on prevention. For example:

  • Most burglaries occur during the day, not at night as is commonly believed. When houses are empty, they are more vulnerable. 
  • Most burglars enter through a rear or side door. The second most common entry point is the garage door. 
  • Most burglars spend about a minute trying to get into homes and spend less than five minutes inside.

To protect yourself, check your doors and windows for vulnerabilities. Do you have any broken or loose locks? Install pick-proof locks, and make sure the window and door frames are strong and durable. Again, most burglars do not want to spend more than a minute trying to get in: if you make it difficult for them, they will most likely move on to an easier target. 

Is Your Home Burglar-Friendly? Don’t Leave Out the Welcome Mat for Thieves

Some ways you can make your home less desirable:

  • Trim back shrubs and trees to eliminate hiding spots.
  • Plant bushes and shrubs that deter burglars. They should have thorny stems, prickly or spiky leaves, abrasive surfaces, and a sting when touched. This is not always a safe idea if you have young children or pets, but if not, varieties like blackthorn, creeping juniper, giant rhubarb, common holly, hawthorn, and shrub rose can be quite useful. 
  • Use gravel under windows; it makes a bit of noise when someone’s walking on it, and this can be a deterrent. 
  • Don’t leave ladders or containers that can be stacked so the burglar can gain access to upper floors (they know that people often neglect to lock these).
  • Don’t leave your tools out: many intruders use your own tools to break in. 
  • Make sure your exterior doors have a solid core, high-quality solid deadbolts, steel plates to cover the deadbolts, and a metal strike plate with at least six three-inch screws.

Rethink Holiday Lights

If you’re traveling during the holidays, it is prudent to install security lights. While daytime burglaries are common, that doesn’t mean criminals go to bed early. They are looking for empty homes, and lights are usually a big indicator. Install motion sensor lights outside and position some in the corners so they catch people coming in from the side. Also, make sure they are positioned at an appropriate height: you don’t want someone to disable them.

Leaving lights on a timer is a good idea, but if the same lights come on at the same exact time each day, it can be obvious that you’re not home. (This can be a problem if a thief is scoping out your neighborhood for easy targets, but it does prevent opportunistic burglars.) Smart lights that you can control remotely allow you to turn on different lights at different times for a more natural effect. 

Be Security Smart

Some other steps:

  • Install a security system that includes options such as 24/7 monitoring, smart locks, door and window sensors, glass break detectors, and security cameras.
  • Speaking of which, installing security cameras on your eaves can be an effective deterrent: many burglars know to look for them, and they’ll move on.
  • Don’t leave anything outside or in the mailbox that can identify you.
  • Stop all the mail and any deliveries (packages, newspapers, etc.) while you are traveling.
  • Keep valuables away from the windows so if someone is passing by, they’re not tempted by your laptop, phone, tablet, etc.
  • Don’t post about your travels on social media. Burglars are on Facebook and Instagram, too, and they’re looking for homes that will be empty. Even if your settings are private, it’s best not to announce you’re out of town. 
  • Don’t leave boxes from expensive gifts (video game systems, TVs) on the curb. It’s like advertising your merchandise!
  • Have a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor house-sit or stop by to check on your property. It’s extra peace of mind. 

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of home security. Speak to the experts at Integrity Security to learn more about protecting your home during holiday travel - and all year long. 

Happy - and Safe - Holidays, everyone!