Holiday burglary stories are burning up the news wires, with reports of intruders breaking into empty homes, and sad stories of presents (both wrapped and unwrapped) falling victim to the burglars who step up their activities this time of year. Plus, many homeowners find themselves on the road over the holidays, creating more opportunities for the bad guys.
Local law enforcement agencies are once again responding to the increased threat with proactive campaigns to get out the word on how to make it tougher for residential criminals. Last year I posted a set of holiday home security recommendations from the police in Fremont California, and think this list is good enough to run again. So here you have it: a timely set of tips on how to increase your peace of mind when your schedule includes travel, trees, time off, shopping, and celebrating!
An empty house is a tempting target for a burglar, so make sure you do your best to have your home look occupied while you are away.
- Find a trusted friend or neighbor to watch your house. Give them your contact information in case they need to get a hold of you.
- Never broadcast your travel plans on a community email group, blog, Facebook, or other social networking site and remember if you check-in on foursquare or Facebook, everyone knows you aren’t home!
- Install good locks on the doors and windows and use them.
- Engrave your valuables with your phone number and place Operation Identification stickers on your entry door and front window.
- Never leave a house key hidden outside of your home. If it is hidden in a pot, under the mat, beneath a rock or in a fake rock someone else may find it and enter your home while you are away.
- Stop all deliveries or arrange for someone to pick up your mail, newspapers, and packages.
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn [or shovel your driveway!] and maintain the yard while you are away. This keeps your home looking lived in.
- Place your inside lights and a radio on timers so that they go on and off, periodically in the evening hours.
- Hide your garbage cans out of sight. If your garbage cans are empty when everyone else’s are full, it is a sign that you are not at home.
- Turn the ringer on your telephone down low or off so that people outside of your home will not hear the phone ringing go unanswered.
- Be sure to close and lock the garage door too. When possible have a friend or family member park a car in your driveway occasionally so that it looks like someone is still at home.
- Leave your blinds and drapes in their normal position on second floor windows (closed on ground level so no one can look inside and view an empty home).
Remember, when you return home if it looks like someone has entered your home—don’t go inside! Instead use a cell phone, go to a neighbor’s house or other safe location to contact the police. Let the police check the home before you go inside.
Of course, this list is missing one piece of advice that is offered by many law enforcement professionals: use a monitored home alarm system to increase your peace of mind. Local police are increasingly recommending home security in the face of rising burglary statistics. And remember, it’s not just having that system in place – you also have to be disciplined about arming it, even when you are at home.
FrontPoint is always on the lookout for ways to increase your safety and security, but we are especially mindful during this joyous and hectic time of year. After all, protecting homes and families is our highest priority. We’ll keep on finding and posting these great tips, since it’s our goal to be your resource for crime statistics, burglar behaviors, and the latest technologies to thwart intruders. Remember, FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the country to use safer cellular monitoring in every system we’ve ever sold, and that means six years – and counting! Smart homeowners also know us for our smarter Interactive level of monitoring. Make sure your home is protected: by FrontPoint, the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. And may your holidays and any related travels be as safe and secure as they can be!