Dec 01 2010
The holidays are quickly approaching. If you are like the rest of us, you are busy preparing for holiday get-togethers and dinner parties, mailing holiday greeting cards, finishing up your shopping list and planning visits to family and friends. But something else should be on your “to-do” list that probably isn’t. Home safety. While we are focused on celebrating on the joys of the season, burglars are watching and waiting. During the holiday season, many of us get caught up in the festivities and let our guard down when it comes home safety making it an opportune time for burglars to strike when we least expect it. Below are seven tips to help protect your home, family and belongings during the holiday season.
- Whether you’re home all day, on an errand to the store or out for town for the week, be sure to keep all windows and doors locked. This includes the garage door and service door between the garage and the home. Burglars know the holiday season is an opportune time for breaking-in as many homes have extra valuables inside not to mention extra cash on hand, and homeowners are often away from their homes. Locked doors and windows deter potential break-ins.
- When you change your home’s décor from its everyday styling to holiday themed decorating, keep it simple and modest. Expensive and showy holiday decorations and elaborate light displays are a signal to criminals there may be plenty of valuables inside your home. In addition, do not leave wrapped gifts under the tree in full view from exterior windows. These are an invitation to burglars to break-in when you aren’t home. Keep wrapped gifts stashed away in closets and storage spaces until the last minute.
- Be sure your home is well-lit inside and out and the yard is well-groomed. Not only does this add to curb appeal, but it is an important safety measure. The more lighting you have inside your home and in your yard (including along sidewalks and around the garage), the less dark places for thieves to lurk and hide at night. Likewise, follow the 3 foot/6 foot rule when it comes to trees and shrubs in your yard. Trim bushes down to no more than three feet tall and trim trees up at least six feet off the ground minimizing hiding places for criminals. This also provides a clear view of your home from the street.
- If you plan to travel out of town this holiday season, only mention your trip to the people who absolutely need to know you’ll be gone. Furthermore, do not mention you’ll be traveling on any of the social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. If a potential criminal discovers you’ll be gone, it won’t take much legwork to find your address and know just when to break-in your home.
- In addition, do not mention or discuss valuable holiday gifts via social media. A post like, “Got a new sound system for the home theater for X-mas,” becomes common knowledge instantly. If a criminal happens upon this information, all he or she will have to do now is watch your house and wait for you to leave. Within minutes, that new sound system will not be yours any longer.
- If you do not use social media, do not think you are exempt from the risk of burglary. As soon as you put the empty boxes and packaging from your new sound system in the trash can or next to it at the curb, you’ll be telling the whole neighborhood and all the passers-by that you have something valuable in your home. Use caution when throwing away packaging from “big ticket” gifts. Burglars know what to look for and some even cruise streets and neighborhoods looking for boxes, cartons and trash signaling valuable gifts inside a home. As soon as you leave your house, your new sound system is as good as gone. Instead of throwing away all of the packaging or the entire box at one time, break it down or cut it into smaller pieces. Recycle or dispose of the smaller pieces a little bit at a time so not to attract attention.
- If you have plans to travel this holiday season, take advantage of a home security system if possible. If you already have one, you are in good shape. However, if you do not have a security system and can afford one, considering having it installed as soon as possible. If you do not have a security system and cannot afford one, take a few smaller steps like installing motion sensor lights along walkways, porches and driveways. Solar lights work well too, as you won’t have to manually turn them on or off. Inside, set your lights and TVs on timers. Have them turn on in various parts of the home at different times of the day. Consider asking a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway intermittently while you are away. Also ask a neighbor to collect mail and newspapers or stop these services until you return home. It is a good idea to notify your local police department as well and request a car drive past your home periodically while you are out of town. If you ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, identify the vehicle to the police.
As you look forward to celebrating the holiday season, The Garage Plan Shop recommends you add these home safety precautions to your holiday “to-do” list protecting your home, family and belongings.