Now that the holidays are here, we should be thinking about spending time with family and friends not to mention getting our hands on all that delicious gourmet chocolate. The last thing we should be worried about is home security.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels the true spirit of giving during the holiday season. All across New England, people are traveling to visit family members either out of state or just a few towns over. That leaves many homes vulnerable to thieves as winter’s chill begins to descend on the region. In fact, the FBI reports that more than 400,000 burglaries occur across the country every November and December. So it’s more important than ever for homeowners and renters to stay security conscious and take the necessary steps to protect themselves before packing up and heading out for an extended trip.
There are a number of ways to make a home less appealing to would-be thieves, and investing a little effort can pay dividends in discouraging burglars from targeting your home. Here is a quick look at some ways to protect your home from a holiday break-in so that the only surprises you have to deal with over the course of the next month come wrapped with nice, bright bows.
Minimize Your Absence. You simply can’t predict when the snow is going to fall across the Northeast, before you head out you should be sure to contact your local snow removal service to ensure they continue to plow your driveway and shovel your walk while you’re away. Leaving a heavy dusting of the white stuff undisturbed on the ground around your home is a red flag for thieves casing a neighborhood. You should also cancel or suspend newspaper delivery during your time away, and have a neighbor pick up your mail so it doesn’t pile up and tip anyone off to your absence.
Keep It Lit. Set a timer to turn on a few inside and outside lights at night to make people think you’re home. Don’t forget to set the timer to turn the lights off at your usual bedtime.
Install An Alarm System – And Be Sure You Use It. Having a burglar alarm installed is a great way to discourage thieves from entering your home, and even if the stickers don’t deter them they aren’t likely to stick around long once the siren goes off. When you leave on that trip to Grandma’s, be sure to set your alarm as soon as you walk out the door. You also might want to consider purchasing a system that can provide you with a instant alert – sent to your mobile phone – if an intruder is detected. If you have a system thatis monitored by a security company make sure you check your contact list to make sure it is up to date.
Don’t Advertise. If you’ve just purchased a bunch of big ticket gifts, such as an HDTV, a new laptop and an iPad, don’t pile the boxes at the curb. Thieves often scan for indications that a house is filled with easy-to-sell merchandise such as electronics before planning their next hit. At the same time, whether you’re away from home for a week or for an hour, don’t leave jewelry lying around in front of a window where it might be easily seen, and be sure to lock up bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs inside the garage so that they don’t tempt potential criminals.