Nothing seems as cruel as having your home broken into during the holidays. Criminals are out there, however, looking for opportunities. While booby trapping your home is not as good a defense as it is in the movies, there are several ways to prevent a break in during the long nights and times when you are away from home.
Fortify your home: First of all, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked. Burglars can tell from across the street whether a sliding window is unlocked to make way for extension cords, for example. Solid doors with heavy duty locks are important also. Window security devices and glass break sensors are effective at deterring criminals and notifying you when there is a problem.
Don’t Call Attention: A burglar is ready to go as soon as they know you’ll be away. This means not posting your travel plans online or stating them on your answering machine message. Open curtains and piled up newspapers also call attention to you being gone, so close the window curtains and cancel deliveries, or have a friend take them in or pick them up for you.
Remove Helpful Tools: Ladders, shrubs, trees, vents, and dog doors provide burglars with opportunities. Make sure criminals can’t hide or reach into your home, and make any necessary fixes before you leave.
Be Vigilant During Short Trips
The same rules apply even if you’re going to the mall. Don’t post when you’ll be gone – a burglary doesn’t take all that long if the bad guy knows what he’s doing. It’s not hard to track when the lights to on and off either. You’re best bet is an automated system that turns them on and off randomly.
You should also avoid hiding door keys during your shopping trips. Anyone can look on a ledge or under a doormat. Even after Christmas, short trips can give burglars an opportunity, since they know valuable items are in your home. This is made more apparent when boxes for high-priced items are left outside. Criminals can see that what you have is what they want, and will go at great lengths to get it for free.
- Leave your name off the mailbox; it’s rather easy to find out someone’s telephone
- number by looking up their name. Would-be burglars can call to see if you’re around or not.
- Have neighbors park their car in your driveway or look out for suspicious activities.
- Keep your Christmas tree away from the window, so nobody outside can see the gifts under it. Those colorful lights and wrapping paper invoke an image of not only fun for all, but one of opportunity for a thief.
No one wants to think of the possibility of a burglar spoiling Christmas for their family, but it does happen. Taking small precautions will help push the robbers away in search of easier targets.