Homes are more susceptible to criminal activity during the holiday season for a variety of reasons. The staff at ADS Guards, a trusted security guard agency in the Bay Area, suggests a few ways to secure your house so you can enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.
When at work or out of town, connect holiday lights, radios, and TVs to timers to give the impression you’re home. Set lights to switch on 30 minutes before it gets dark and to turn off at bedtime. A plug-in unit can control one appliance or string of holiday lights, and a digital outlet can operate multiple devices on a staggered cycle. Drapes can also be set on a timer to open and close at designated times.
Reduce Visibility of Gifts from Outside
The sight of a Christmas tree with piles of presents beneath it is an invitation to theft. To prevent burglary, use curtains and blinds to keep tempting items out of view. Another option is to position your tree away from windows, or you can also wait until Christmas Eve before placing gifts beneath the tree.
Don’t Announce Your Absence on Social Media
Thieves can use social media to scout potential targets. If you post vacation plans on Facebook and Twitter, you’re divulging when you won’t be home. A light bulb will go off in a burglar’s mind upon reading you’re away from home and won’t return until next week. Exercise restraint with what you share on these sites. According to CBS Local Media, if you file a home insurance claim an insurer may investigate your social media account. If you’ve posted information telling people you are away, an insurer might not honor a claim if you’ve put your house at risk for burglary.
Keep Your House Securely Locked
The FBI reports approximately 30 percent of all burglaries are traced to an unlocked door or window. Money Crashers states that in most areas of the country, there’s a significant hike in crime during the holiday season for this reason. However, you can keep your home better protected by keeping everything locked.
- Doors – Sliding doors should have a locking mechanism since they offer an easy escape route. Entry doors should be solid wood or steel-wrapped wood, as hollow and wood panel doors are easily knocked down. Secure all exterior doors with a deadbolt lock. According to Consumer Reports, Grade 1 and 2 deadbolts are the hardest to disable. The strike should be constructed of heavy metal and installed with 3-inch screws.
- Windows – Running extension cords through windows prevents them from closing completely. Hire an electrician to install an exterior outlet for holiday lights.
- Shed and Garage – Intruders can use your tools and ladders to enable a break-in, so keep these locked away as well.
- Keys – Make sure house keys aren’t visible through a window or letterbox. Burglars can use a hooked pole to grab them and let themselves inside.
Inform a Neighbor of an Upcoming Absence
If you plan to be away for an extended period, enlist the aid of a neighbor to keep an eye on your house. Ask him or her to pick up mail and newspapers, as an overflowing mailbox and piles of periodicals make a vacancy obvious. Alternatively, you can suspend mail and newspaper delivery until you return. The post office holds mail for 30 days, and you can postpone newspaper delivery indefinitely. If you’re driving to your destination, arrange for a neighbor to park his or her car in your driveway. The periodic movement of a vehicle can create the impression you’re home. Hiring residential security services to patrol the area is another option.
Be Careful When Discarding Post-Holiday Garbage
If leftover gift packaging is visible outside, thieves know what they’ll find inside the home. Boxes for a computer, TV, or an entertainment system reveal what’s new within your house. Conceal the evidence by breaking down boxes, turning them inside out, and waiting until collection day to place them on the curb.
Though event security services and security patrol for commercial properties are our primary focus, we still consider the safety of our potential clients and their property extremely important. For additional solutions to keeping your home safe during the holidays, or for more information on our security guard services, contact ADS Guards today at 1-800-794-1550.