The FBI reports a rise in burglaries throughout the holiday season. During this time of celebration and reunions with family and friends, the last thing a homeowner or apartment dweller should have to worry about is the security of their belongings when they’re traveling or are out at a holiday party. Luckily, there are a variety of tips and tools residents can use to help protect themselves against burglary. Keep your mind focused on all that’s merry and bright by following these suggestions:
Invest in a home security system
Installing a home security system is the simplest, most effective action you can take to protect your family and prevent holiday burglaries. Their loud alarms tend to scare off intruders before they have a chance to do any real damage. If monitored, they can also notify local law enforcement to come out and investigate the cause of the alarm.
Luckily, home security systems are now easier than ever to install. For example, a full DIY wireless home security system, like the K1 from smanos, lets you monitor your home remotely, but doesn’t require monthly fees for monitoring. It includes a discrete smart home hub, door window/sensor, indoor siren, security keypad, pet-friendly motion sensor and accompanying mobile app to proactively alert homeowners when sensors are triggered.
Shine a little light on the situation
Light is a burglar’s worst enemy because the chance of being caught is much higher than working in the dark. A well-lit porch means nothing if the sides and back of your home are masked by total darkness. Perform a full audit of your outdoor lighting situation before you head out of town, installing lights near windows and doors—and replacing old lightbulbs to ensure they function properly while you’re away. Live in an apartment? Utilize a timing device to flick on your front porch and patio lights at dusk so the entrances are always visible to passersby.
You can also kick your security up a notch with high tech lighting like the MAXIMUS Smart Security Light. A common outdoor front porch light at first glance, it’s actually a simple-to-install security system equipped with a two-way speaker and Wi-Fi camera. The camera detects movement at your door and sends a real-time alert to your smartphone, allowing you to sound an alarm, see and speak to people at your front door no matter where you are—or let’s be honest, really scare off a potential intruder with the sound of your voice.
Recruit a few extra pairs of eyes
Getting to know your neighbors can be one of the best defenses against theft. Ask them to keep an eye on your home or apartment while you’re away, even stopping in once or twice to give the appearance that someone is home. Since they know you, they’ll be more apt to notice strange activity or new people around your residence. By working together and being vigilant, neighbors can create a safer community for all members.
While neighbors are great, they can’t have eyes on your home 24/7. This is where technology like security cameras can come into play. Once involving a costly installation and monitoring process, there are now a host of cost-effective options for home video surveillance. One example is Presence Security, which runs through a free app that turns an old smartphone into a security camera and pairs with smart sensors so you can monitor entry, motion, water, temperature, humidity and touch changes in your home.
Avoid a paper trail
With the growing concern of identity theft, residents should also be mindful of what they’re throwing out, being sure to utilize a paper shredder for documents with sensitive, personal information. Placing un-shredded items in the trash not only increases your odds of identity theft, but it is also a method for burglars to find out whether or not a home is worth the effort of being burglarized.
A buildup of mail or newspapers is a tell-tale sign that you’ve been out of town for a while—and a great tip off to burglars looking for empty residences. Ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail or sign up for Hold Mail Service with the post office.
These are just a few examples of small, proactive steps you can take to help protect your home from holiday intrusion. Technology can be a huge help, but always remember to use common sense—keeping all doors and windows securely locked, securing sliding doors by placing a shower rod or plank of wood in the track, and keeping all bushes trimmed so windows and doors are visible from the street.
Hopefully, you’ll never experience a home invasion, but if it does happen, remember that the safety of you and your loved ones comes first. Take precautions like the ones listed above and you’ll be able to ditch the anxiety and focus solely on enjoying the holiday festivities around you.
By: Lynn Edmondson, Regional Manager, Wendover Management, LLC