Going home for the holidays? You’ll be in good company: one-quarter of Americans take to the open road – or sky – to reunite with family to celebrate the holidays every year.
Besides meaning a time to enjoy the company of loved ones, it also means that thieves are on the prowl, waiting for families to vacate their homes to provide them with an increased opportunity to steal.
If you want to make sure that all your valuables are protected when you’re gone, you’ll need to take measures to secure your property against break-and-enters. And oftentimes that means making it look as if you’re still at home, even if you’re not.
Put a Hold on Your Newspaper and Mail Delivery
Want to send the message out to thieves that you’re not around for a few days? Let your mail and newspapers pile up. Of course, that’s not what you want to happen, so you’d be well-advised to make a call to put a hold on mail and newspaper delivery until you get back. The local post office can hold your mail for up to 30 days, and the newspaper can be postponed indefinitely.
Set a Timer For Your Lights
When you’re out of town, set a timer for all the lights inside and outside your home. Having an automatic timer will set the lights to come on and off at certain times, making it look as if someone is there. Having said that, you should have a close look at any strings of holiday lights before putting them on a timer. Any cords that are frayed or damaged in some way pose a fire hazard. If that’s the case, go buy yourself some new ones.
Make Sure Everything is Locked Up – Including Your Windows
That goes without saying, right? Who leaves their home – for days at a time, no less – without locking the doors or windows?
Lots of people.
It can happen to the best of us. But if you’re in the habit of leaving your doors and windows unlocked more often than not, the holidays are the perfect time to whip into shape. Start making it a habit of asking yourself certain questions before leaving your house, including whether or not the home is adequately secured and locked up. A well-secured home is more of a deterrent to would-be burglars. The easier you make it for them to get into your home, the better the odds of them taking action.
Install Deadbolts on All Exterior Doors
Make it harder for burglars to break into your home by deadbolting all the doors that lead to the outside. It’s just another hindrance for thieves who are scoping out targets in your neighborhood. Even if you’re only leaving the house for a half hour while you pick up groceries, you should deadbolt your doors every time.
Don’t Advertise Your Vacation on Social Media
People just love posting about all their daily happenings on Facebook and Twitter, whether it’s the new cookie recipe they’ve discovered or how disappointed they were in last’s night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
But one thing you should never post on social media is how much you’re enjoying your vacation abroad. Broadcasting where you are and how long you’ll be there can be a real danger. You’re basically announcing to the world – including criminals – that your home is vacant at the moment.
Keep the fact that you’re nowhere near home offline, and wait until you’re home to post your favorite holiday trip photos.
Install a Home Security System
One of the best things you can do to prevent a break-in during the holidays is to have a professional home security system set up. One of the great things about these systems is that they give you peace of mind knowing that they’re always working – whether you’re asleep, at work, or on vacation. Having your home monitored with a sounding alarm that immediately dispatches the authorities is a fantastic way to ward off thievery.
The holidays are a happy and joyous time – the last thing you want is for this cheerful season to be ruined after having your home ransacked. Take these steps to keep your home and valuables as safe as possible while you’re enjoying your holidays abroad.