As fall turns to winter and Thanksgiving passes us by, people across the nation start the bulk of their holiday shopping sprees and decorate the insides and outsides of their homes for the coming winter holidays. Whether you’ve shopped Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other deal-wheeling day of the week, you’ve likely got some gifts that are gathering beneath a tree, beside a fireplace, or in stockings – or maybe you shopped for that 50” LCD TV you’ve been wanting.
The point is, now is the time of year most people in the United States have a stack of new and valuable goods sitting in their homes. What could be more convenient for a criminal looking to score some freebies than a big pile of gifts (aside from stacking them all outside your home)?
Now is the time to make sure those who would try to steal from you don’t thwart your holiday cheer. Below are some tips to keep your gifts and family safe this holiday season.
Tip #1: Keep the doors locked whenever they’re not in use.
This may seem a little overzealous, but it is truly the time of year where criminals get a little more daring to get out of the cold and make that ‘big score’. If you’re inside and reading by the fire, it’s not going to do you any harm to take 10 seconds to go lock the front door. Likewise, if you make a quick run to the convenience store down the street, make sure you lock up – criminals will often target a house and keep an eye on it, waiting for the best moment to make their move.
Tip #2: Lock and cover your windows.
This is just as important as locking your doors, if not more important. By leaving your windows uncovered, you’re giving crooks the opportunity to case out your house, identify where the gifts and other valuables are, and make a much more efficient plan of thievery than they could have otherwise. You don’t want people peeking in through your windows, and you don’t want them crawling in through them, either.
Tip #3: Keep a light or two on at all times.
During the winter, the number of hours the sun shines for us in the northern hemisphere reduces, and many people don’t make it home from work before it gets dark. This gives criminals an easy in, because if they see no lights on in a house, it’s a pretty clear sign that nobody is home. On the other hand, if even one light is left on, the extra couple dollars on your electricity bill could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the event of a break-in.
Tip #4: Install a motion-activated light on the outside of your home.
These can be obtained and installed fairly cheaply, and have been proven to be an effective theft deterrent. Typical motion detection lights can be picked up for between $50-100, and can detect motion within 100 feet or so, within about a 15-foot wide diameter.
Tip #5: Avoid advertising your high-end purchases to your neighborhood.
It’s great when people can afford to buy themselves or others the finer things in life, but for every prince, there are many paupers full of resentment and jealousy. Don’t attract thieves by bragging about your recent home surround sound system and leather recliners.
So, take care this holiday season. Close those blinds, leave a light on, and just keep safety and common sense in mind as you enjoy time with your family and friends.