‘Tis the season for family, friends, and good food. This time of year is typically about celebrating and reuniting with the ones you love. Unfortunately, there’s a nasty few out there determined to ruin the festivities: burglars.
Many people are travelling, visiting their families and leaving homes unattended. The holidays are the perfect time for a burglar to strike! If that wasn’t enough to make you into a Grinch, the colder weather takes a heavy toll on a home, making environmental damages a real concern.
How can you keep your home safe from both burglars and the environment? Here are 10 steps to ensure a safe and happy holiday.
1) Think like a burglar
Take an objective look at your home and look for potential points of entry that a burglar may use. Don’t overlook entryways vents and dog doors just because they’re small or difficult to reach, burglars come in all shapes and sizes. Look to see if any tree branches could give access to windows upstairs.
2) Put away any tools
Fall and winter bring leaves and snow, which also means rakes and shovels. Make sure to put away any tools after you’re done. Don’t forget about ladders as they can be an invitation to the upper levels of your home.
3) Lock doors and windows
Did you know that doors are the most common point of entry for a burglar? As many as 40 percent of burglaries occur through unlocked doors and windows; by simply locking your doors and windows, you can protect your home. Do not neglect upstairs, as intruders can use ladders and trees to access it.
4) Be clever when hiding spare keys
If you keep an extra key hidden outside your home for those desperate situations, know that it comes with a risk. Under the doormat, in a planter, or on a light are obvious hiding places. If you must leave a key outside your home, be creative with the location. Or better yet, leave it with a trusted neighbor.
Which takes us to…
5) Know the neighbors
Relationships with your neighbors can vary from home to home, but if you trust them, it can be extremely beneficial for both parties. If you’re going away for the holidays, let your neighbors know. Ask them to make it seem like your home is still occupied by picking up mail/packages or making footprints in the snow.
6) Avoid revealing your location on social media
Thanks to Farmers Insurance, this tip is pretty well known. You put yourself at risk if you post your location on social media – whether you’re leaving for 10 minutes or 10 days.
7) Light it up
Even if you’re not home, it’s very easy to control your lights remotely. There are many devices that allow you to automate lighting in your home, for safety and to conserve energy. Home security systems also have home automation features with the same capabilities.
8) Close curtains/blinds
It’s nice to display your Christmas tree in a front window for others to see, but avoid putting presents in plain view. While they might be wrapped, large gifts or a big stash are attractive prizes for a burglar canvassing the neighborhood. Hide the presents until the night before Christmas or close your curtains and blinds.
9) Check environmental sensors
The colder season bring a number of environmental hazards, but environmental sensors for your home alarm system can eliminate these concerns. Smoke, heat, flooding, and freezing can all be detected, so make sure your sensors have fresh batteries.
10) Arm your security system
Many burglaries are successful because the homeowners didn’t arm their security system. Even the best system is useless if you don’t use it. If you frequently forget, think about signing up for a home security system that includes smartphone and online access. Or, purchase a keychain remote for easy, one-button arming and disarming.
Follow these steps and have a safe and secure holiday season. Peace of mind comes easy when you know you've taken the necessary precautions for your family and home’s security.
If you have any other suggestions on how to keep your home safe during the holidays, let us know in the comments below!