We think of the holiday season as a time of good tidings and giving, but unfortunately, it’s also prime time for home invaders to take. Christmas is the most traveled day of the year with so many of us having out of town family or just leaving our homes for the day to visit loves ones nearby. Burglars rely on the fact that our homes are uninhabited for Christmas. To help keep you informed and more protected this time of year, here’s a list of tips to help you safeguard your biggest investment, and the valuable items in it.
The most obvious choice to keep your home safe is to lock all doors and windows, and be sure the locks function well. You’d be surprised to learn how many people leave their homes unlocked while they’re away, but some grew up in a time where locking doors wasn’t the norm. In this day and age, it’s essential to have good working locks on windows and all doors and USE THEM!! I may be overdoing it, but I keep my doors and windows locked even when I’m at home. Not only does it give me peace of mind when I’m home alone with my kids, but it also keeps me in the habit of always locking up. If you’re going out of town for the holidays, this may be a good time to look into a security system as an added measure. If you want to be extra cautious, add video monitoring to your system as well. With the invention of smart home devices like Ring, it’s easier than ever to keep an eye on your home from a smartphone or computer even when you’re not there.
Be careful of door to door solicitors. The holiday season is a time when criminals get creative to get in the door. Be wary of anyone coming to your door saying their collecting donations for a charity. Always ask for I.D. that links them to that organization. Don’t feel pressured to give, never give cash and, most of all, trust your instincts. Call 911 right away if something seems off.
Don’t place empty boxes with specific merchandise advertised on them outside in plain view. This lets criminals know exactly what they can find inside. ‘Tis the season of new electronics and expensive gifts, so if they see a box with a flat screen TV, IPad or Xbox, you may be their next target.
Have someone you trust pick up your mail if you are away. Nothing tips off a thief to your being away like a stack of mail and newspapers at your mailbox or front step. Ask a family member or close friend to not only grab your mail and put it inside, but to check on your house to make sure everything’s good while you’re gone.
DO NOT POST TRAVEL PLANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA!! This is the number one mistake we make in this age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. We have a habit of letting everyone know exactly where we are and what we’re doing at any given second. I know it’s hard not to share the details of your exciting trip, but be aware that it’s dangerous to do so. That, albeit adorable, snapshot of your kids on their first plane ride is also saying, “I’m not home.”
Be safe and make conscious decisions during this most traveled time of the year. It’s a time of togetherness, family and making memories, so don’t let one of those be coming home to a break-in! The Susan Morris Team wishes you all a safe and happy holiday season!!