‘Tis the season to be jolly… and to keep your home safe during Christmas from break-ins.
Christmas is just around the corner, and along with the mistletoe, reindeer and sparkling lights come an increased risk of property crime. According to the FBI, the month of December is a prime time for crime, as many people travel to spend time with family and friends, leaving their homes — and often all of those expensive Christmas gifts — unattended. Winter storms make it even easier for burglars to tell when no-one is home, thanks to fresh white snow that makes lack of footprints, tire tracks and shoveling apparent. And though that gorgeous Christmas tree might look great in your front window surrounded by colorfully wrapped packages, anyone considering breaking in might just see your festive display as a convenient way to go “window shopping.”
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from crime. This holiday season, these tips will help keep your home safe during and after Christmas.
Out-of-Town Outings: Keep them on the Down-Low
If you’re planning on leaving home to visit family over the holidays, don’t spread the word. Posting pictures and plans on social media allows criminals to see exactly when your home will be unoccupied, making it easier for them to attempt a break-in. Even if you’re just heading out for a few hours, keep your plans to yourself; most home break-ins take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., otherwise known as prime shopping hours.
All About Lights
Those glittering lights on the outside of your home are a beautiful part of the holidays; just make sure that you don’t open a window or door and run them through to an inside plug, making it easy for a thief to get in. And speaking of lights, keeping the outside of your home well-lit makes it less attractive to would-be burglars. Installing motion-sensitive lights around your home makes breaking in a lot more difficult. Consider putting inside lights on a timer, as well, to make it seem as though someone is home, even if you’re away.
When Someone Comes Knocking
Christmas is known as a time for generosity, so it’s no surprise that local charities may come calling asking for donations. While may be legitimate, be careful about providing personal information (for example, on a survey or petition) or giving money to those going door-to-door. In addition, take caution when opening the door to strangers or if you’re not expecting guests. Using a chain adds a layer of safety and prevents the door from opening wide enough to let people see inside… and possibly scope out ways to break in later.
Hide the Goods
We’ve already mentioned that putting a Christmas tree near a window may act as a thief magnet, especially if a mound of gifts is piled underneath. Avoid this issue and keep your home safe during Christmas by placing a tree out of sight from the street and always closing your curtains or blinds after dark, when it’s easier to see inside. You may also want to consider not putting any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. In addition, when you take gifts out of their boxes to wrap, be mindful of leaving the packaging out near the curb for the recycling truck. After all, you don’t want everyone walking by to notice that you’ve purchased a new flat screen TV or other expensive items. This goes for after Christmas, too!
Accounting for Gifts
After the gifts have been unwrapped, take pictures of any valuable items and their serial numbers on your mobile device. Store the images in a secure location for use in case of insurance claims or the need to make a police report. Similarly, if you receive jewelry or similar valuable items, be sure to keep them locked in a safe or, at the least, out of sight of windows.
These simple steps can help protect your home this holiday season and ensure that you and your family have a Merry Christmas.