It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the holidays are the perfect opportunity for burglars to strike. If you’ve seen “Home Alone,” you’ll recognize some of the danger. People need money around the holidays, and homeowners tend to travel. Whether through extensive planning or a crime of opportunity, burglars can ruin your holiday season when they come through the window in search of your stuff. Fortunately for homeowners, there are some defenses that can protect you from this harm. Whether you’re going to be at home or away visiting family, you should heed these tips to defend against home break-ins.
Skip The Posting
Most people like to post a picture or two from their travels during the holidays. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your trip with a Snapchat story or Facebook post. Make sure your settings are private, however. If you’re broadcasting to the world that your home is unattended, you’re simply inviting a stranger to come take what he wants. The solution is easy enough. As long as you’ve taken great care to only be friends on social media with those you know and trust, you can set your posts to private mode. If you’re the sort of person who routinely allows strangers to follow and friend you, then you might consider abstaining from holiday travel posts altogether.
Utilize an intermittent house sitting service
Many holiday burglars will case your property for an extended period of time to ensure it’s free of people. You don’t need to pay someone to sit at your home the entire time you’re gone, but you might protect yourself by paying for an occasional house sitter. Have a friend or relative come by your home once or twice per day to water plants or conduct some other routine maintenance. If a would-be robber is casing your property, he may move on to an easier target when he learns you have someone watching over your property.
Prevent Porch Pirates
Thieves like to strike when there’s an Amazon Prime delivery or other package left unguarded on the porch. Consider adding a doorbell cam or other outdoor security camera to help deter porch pirates. Another smart move is to give delivery people special instructions about where to leave packages. If you’re expecting lots of deliveries, consider renting out a package locker (Amazon Prime members have access for free) or investing in a secure drop box to keep on your porch. Amazon also has a “Photo On Delivery” option that sends you a picture of your item when it arrives.
Consider leaving on lights or certain electronics
The tendency when traveling is to turn everything off. This can tip burglars to the fact that you’re gone. The average family doesn’t sit in the dark during the early evening. You may consider leaving on a light in the house or in front of your home. Some homeowners even choose to leave on the television to deter criminals. While this will raise your electric bill, the few dollars in extra charges may save you from an expensive break-in. Be careful, however, not to leave on anything dangerous. Leaving the lights on a Christmas tree, for instance, is a major fire hazard that could lead to a different sort of tragedy.
If you plan to be out of town during the holidays, it pays to take steps to protect your property. You don’t have to leave your home as a sitting duck where some criminal can rifle through your things. A little common sense can go a long way. Remember that burglars have options, so your goal is always to ensure that your home is a less attractive target than the home down the street.