During this time of year, more than 40,000 burglaries are reported nationwide, according to the FBI. By simply thinking ahead, you can make your family, your home and your car less of a target.
“Most thieves are seeking the path of least resistance or ’easy pickings’,” says Mike Tuttle, co-owner of Guardhouse Security - one of the largest privately owned residential and commercial security companies in Indiana. “The good news is, it doesn’t take a lot to make yourself less attractive as a target.”
To this end, Guardhouse suggests some simple safety tips to keep Santa in and burglars out of your house this holiday season:
Keep a low profile
Do not leave empty boxes at the curb that advertise big purchases like televisions or computers. Break down all boxes and dispose of them in garbage bags or bring them directly to your local recycling center.
Leave no package behind
Leave a note for your delivery professionals to leave packages in inconspicuous locations. If no one is going to be home, even for a little while, ask if the neighbors can take in packages for you. Placing a security camera with remote access capabilities and home automation options near your front door allows you to receive alerts and video footage of the burglars in the process of snatching your much-awaited delivery right to your phone.
Hide prized possessions
Keep holiday finery like your good silver or china – and your newly opened holiday gifts – away from prying eyes. Whether you keep your valuables locked up in a safe or hidden in the cupboard, don’t forget to draw the curtains or blinds as you leave the house. If a thief can’t see the treasure, he will be less interested in breaking in.
Pretend you are home
If you are travelling for the holidays, keep up appearances that you are home with timers on lights, keeping a radio playing, having your neighbors take in any mail or newspapers and even asking your neighbors to put out/take in your trash cans. If it turns out to be a white Christmas this year, make sure to hire someone to shovel your driveway while you are away. This way, thieves will have a hard time singling your house out as the vacant one.
Fortify the weakest link
Your home is only as secure as your most vulnerable entry point. Use sturdy deadbolts on all your doors and a patio bar or small piece of lumber to secure sliding patio doors so burglars cannot get in. While you want your doors and windows secure, remember that you do not want them so secure that you cannot quickly escape in case of fire or other emergency.
Finally, a monitored home security system is essential in keeping burglars out. A security yard sign and window stickers may deter thieves. However, if a thief is desperate and bold enough, an audible alarm and an immediate notification sent to you and local law enforcement makes it more likely that the thieves will not cause as much damage nor steal as much property as they could otherwise.
With more than 20 Christmases under his belt as the co-owner of Guardhouse, Jim Koschnick knows a thing or two about keeping Santa in and burglars out. “It all comes down to common sense. That, and a monitored alarm system that also protects your home and family from fire, smoke, carbon monoxide and other dangers, is an unbeatable combination.”
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