Protect your home
With Christmas and the New Year approaching, schools are going on Holiday break; people are attending parties and many of us are traveling. Packages arrive from family we can’t visit, as well. It’s a time of year when homes may be left unattended, making them prime targets for break-ins and theft. There are some simple things you can do to make your home safe and sound.
Secure the ways into your home
Engage deadbolts on all exterior doors. Locking the doorknob helps, but a deadbolt makes it more difficult to break in. The harder it is to get in, the more likely a burglar will give up and leave. Check with a local locksmith, or if you’re a do-it-yourself type, head to the hardware store. Opt for a reinforced lock strike plate, which strengthens the door. Don’t forget to set the pin lock in your garage door and put a bar on any sliding glass doors to prevent easy entrance. Windows are one of the easiest routes into your home. Lock all of your windows and increase security by using sash pins to keep them from opening.
Don’t advertise your absence
Make your home seem as lived in as possible. Set the lights on a timer to give the impression that people are home. Pull curtains and close blinds to prevent a would-be-burglar from looking inside. Ask trusted friends or neighbors to collect your mail and newspaper while you’re away. You can also ask someone you trust to house sit while you’re gone.
Thieves use the internet too! Don’t post about your trip on social media until after you return; share your plans with the people close to you in person or on the phone, rather than online.
Reduce visual temptation
Store your valuables out of sight. Keep keys where people won’t think to look for them, avoiding obvious hiding spots such as a fake rock or under a flower pot. If you have a vehicle parked outside, clean it out so it is empty of valuables, and place a steering lock on the wheel. All of these steps hide the items people look for when they want to break into a home or vehicle, discouraging them from trying to enter your home or your vehicle. You can also remove valuable items from your home and store them in a safety deposit box or at the home of a relative or friend.
Don’t forget the outside
Mow the lawn right before you leave, or if you use a lawn maintenance service, have them continue work as usual. Put your Christmas lights on a timer similar to the schedule you would use when you’re at home. Place floodlights on a motion sensor near entryways so they will light up when someone enters your yard or comes to your door. Check in with your local police department as well. Law enforcement officers might be willing to drive by your home periodically when you’re gone. Just seeing police officers patrolling the neighborhood can deter a criminal from attempting to break in.
As an added safety measure, consider adding a home security system. If you aren’t a fan of traditional home monitoring services, there are home security systems that alert you by phone if there is movement in your home or on the property. You can even pull up a video feed and do a visual inspection of the premises.
Give yourself more peace of mind
Taking these steps can give you peace of mind while you relax with your family. The Crime Prevention Website has a handy checklist to make it easy for you to remember everything you need to do to secure your home before heading out for Holiday fun.