Christmas and New Year’s are around the corner, and families will head out of town to visit loved ones and eat, drink and be merry – and also exchange gifts. While it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most vulnerable time of the year for neighborhoods.
Thieves know homeowners are traveling and boldly take the opportunity – one that all-too-often is easy – to prey on empty houses. Extra precautions should be taken to make sure that breaking-and-entering doesn’t occur if and when a burglar strikes.
Here are tips from Keller Williams to stay safe and secure.
- Tell nearby residents about your travel plans. That way, they can keep an eye on your property and report suspicious activity.
- Give a neighbor you trust a key to your home and ask him or her to check for signs of a break-in while you’re away. It’s a good idea to have the caretaker turn the lights off and on periodically so it appears someone is living there.
- Stop the newspaper, and put your mail on hold. Such visual cues signal the perfect target for a criminal.
- Consider installing a security system. Several types are available that allow you to monitor your home remotely and check in via video.
- If you’re not ready to invest in such a system, ensure all locks are in proper working order so they are not breached.
It’s been reported widely that hundreds of thousands of burglaries occur in the United States during November and December. Besides thieves knowing lots of homes are empty, they also know lots of homes are filled with presents. A good rule of thumb to keep the bad guys from ruining your Christmas is “out of sight, out of mind.”
While it’s tradition to put your presents under the tree, arrange them in such a way so they aren’t visible from the street. Unwrapped gifts, too, should be hidden from plain view – like in a closet or under the bed.
“Decrease valuable visibility,” reads a blog on the ADS Security Web site. “Don’t keep valuable possessions in places where they can be seen from outside of your house. This only attracts burglars to your home.”
ADS Security suggests clearing the path to your home by trimming shrubs and trees so there are fewer places to hide from the police. Call your police departments and ask whether it offers “dark-house” checks. Many do.
Finally, use restraint when posting to social media. Don’t advertise you are leaving town for two weeks or that you bought your wife diamond earrings. If the information gets into the wrong hands, you could become the next statistic.