Home holiday tips to keep the thieves away
The holidays can be a prime time for home burglaries. Taking a few steps to safeguard your home can prevent it from being an easy mark for burglars.
Follow these six home safety tips to keep a robbery from happening to you.
- Socialize later: Burglars are online, too, and they’ll pounce on opportunities for an empty house where their theft won’t be quickly discovered. Don’t post news of your departure on social networking sites. Wait until you get home to show off the pictures. Do tell trusted neighbors that you’ll be gone so they’ll know to alert the police should they see someone in your home – or packing up a truck outside it.
- Turn one down, light others up: Adjust the volume on your landline phone so no one can hear the phone ringing repeatedly without being answered. You can also have your home phone calls forwarded so callers aren’t tipped off to an empty house. Invest in timers to automatically light your home at night so it isn’t obviously empty. Consider timers to open and close your drapes, as well.
- Clean it up: Overgrown shrubs can be hiding places for burglars, and trees can provide access to second story windows. Trim them back so they’re pretty additions to your home, not step ladders for thieves. If you’re going to be gone for a week or so, you may need to hire a lawn or snow removal service to maintain your yard so the property looks lived in.
- Be the burglar: Take a walk around your property with a close friend or neighbor who is not too familiar with your house and look for ways you could sneak into the house or vulnerable areas. Can you see tools through an easily broken into garage window? Thieves can, too, and they might use your own tools to get inside. Cover them up or shade the window.
- Be secure: Got a weak lock? Fix it as soon as possible. Burglars like using doors to gain entry, and more than half of them come right in through the front door thanks to it either being unlocked or locked with a weak system. Open garage doors are a burglar’s best friend because they usually lead to an unlocked back door. Check the stability of all your doors and windows – and make sure you’ve actually locked them down before you leave. Don’t forget Fido’s door -- pet entrances are attractive entry points for some burglars – and outside buildings, as well.
- Be smart: Piles of mail or newspapers and cars that sit unmoved for days on end serve as burglar welcome mats. Enlist a neighbor to pick up your postal offerings or have mail put on hold until you’re back home. If you’re leaving cars in the drive, have a friend or neighbor move them around every so often. Consider hiring a pet sitter or house sitter to go even farther to ensure your home looks occupied. Fido will be happier, and if something goes wrong, you’ll be alerted early, and you’ll be better able to relax and enjoy your time away.