Believe it or not, the holiday season is already here. Some folks wait all year for the holidays just so they can decorate their homes, shop for gifts, and bake their family’s favorite recipes. There are also individuals who dread this time of year since they know it means higher credit card bills from all the gift buying, and can mean sharing an already crowded house with family members from out of town.
Regardless of where you fall on the holiday-loving scale, you still need to keep your home, belongings, and family safe this time of year. We’ve put together a few tips to help you.
Tip #1: Lock your doors and windows.
The holiday season is known for break-ins. Before heading out to grandma’s house or the local mall, be sure you’ve secured and locked all windows and doors. Don’t provide easy access into your home for potential thieves. If you have a security system installed, be sure to set it before leaving.
Once you get to your destination, lock your car doors. Even if you are visiting a family member and parking in their driveway, know that some thieves go up and down a street, house by house, to check for unlocked cars that may contain sellable items such as cell phones, computers, or gifts you may be trying to hide from nosy family members!
Also, be sure that you aren’t putting expensive items on display in your home or car. This means that you should close your blinds and curtains at home so that potential thieves can’t see that you just bought a brand-new TV or the latest gaming system. The same goes for your vehicle. Don’t leave your purse, gifts, cell phone, etc. in plain view in your vehicle. Even if the doors are locked, burglars may break your window to get inside if the item(s) seem “worth it” to them.
Tip #2: Don’t blast your personal life on social media.
Your family has finally booked a fun vacation after being cooped up for what feels like eternity. While you may be excited about your upcoming trip, don’t post details about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Potential thieves may be watching your social profiles for any updates on your whereabouts. If you say you’re going out of town this upcoming weekend, then they know nobody will be home to try and stop them from stealing your belongings.
If you feel the need to post about your trip, wait until you and your family have safely made it back home.
Tip #3: Install “smart” home devices.
There are a wide range of devices you can install in your home to thwart potential thieves. One such device is a doorbell with a camera on it. When the camera detects movement, you can be notified via your smart phone. If a potential thief is hanging around your door, you can notify your local police department right away.
Additionally, there are devices you can plug your lights into that will allow you to control when they turn on/off throughout the day with the use of an app on your phone. This will help give your home the appearance that someone is there, even at night. If a potential thief is watching your home to detect if there is anyone present, their efforts may be stopped when they see lights in the home coming on and going off. Many burglars don’t want to have a run-in with the inhabitants of a home.
Tip #4: Be mindful of when packages are delivered.
This is the time of year when people are making more purchases online. There’s nothing more inviting to a potential thief than unattended packages. Whether your purchases are holiday decorations or gifts, know when the items are being delivered and bring the packages inside as soon as possible so they aren’t sitting out in front of your home.
Tip #5: Protect your personal data online.
If you use Wi-Fi in your home, be sure that it’s password protected. And don’t use a password that could easily be guessed — your last name, birthdate, spouse’s name, pet’s name, anniversary date, etc. Instead, use an advanced password that will prevent potential hackers from gaining access to your home network. Once inside your network, hackers may be able to confiscate your private information, including banking data and passwords to other websites.
Once they’re up, don’t forget about your holiday lights!
Many homeowners find great joy in decorating their homes with a variety of festive holiday lights. However, many people forget to turn them off or unplug them before going to bed. Even if your home is brand new, it could have undetected wiring issues, or there may be an issue with the lighting itself. These problems could result in a deadly fire. It’s best to turn the lights off before going to sleep. (Your neighbors will thank you, too.)
Be mindful of your trash and recycling
An empty box for a large flat-screen TV out on the curb advertises that you’ve got a new, attractive target for thieves. Make the effort to break boxes down into smaller, less noticeable items for trash or recycling. While you’re at it, you can also turn them inside out to help hide brands and model numbers.