Prevention is Key to Keeping Burglars from Having a Happy Holiday Courtesy of Your Valuables this Season

The holiday season in upon us! It’s time to hang festive lights inside and out, attend holiday parties galore, shop and wrap countless gifts, and head out of town to visit friends and family.  Tis the season, indeed. But did you know it’s also open season for home burglars?

 According to the FBI, a whopping 400,000 burglaries occur in the United States during the months of November and December alone. How can you protect yourself and your valuables? Learn about the anatomy of a burglar, and remember to follow a few common sense tips, along with some less obvious advice to ensure the security of your home. 

 The anatomy of a burglar

A favorite ruse of a would-be burglar is to get a lay of the land. They might be a contractor you’ve hired, or pose as a friendly guy looking for directions, offering to shovel the driveway, or clean the gutters. Opening the door offers a great opportunity to take a peek inside. If you’re not expecting someone, try asking who’s there through the door and give  firm “no” to whatever good or service is being offered. 

 Burglars also enjoy a twilight walk through the neighborhood to get a good look in your windows before you draw your shades to see what valuables live inside: flat-screen TVs, gaming systems, and computers are all favorites.  

What are a would-be burglar’s favorite sights? How about an un-shoveled, pristine driveway, a sales flyer hanging on the door for longer than a day, or a pile of newspapers at the end of your driveway? All are clear signs of an out of town family.

Don’t forget the obvious!

The best prevention for a would-be burglar is to remember lock your doors, close your garage, and set your alarm system EVERY time you leave the house! Daytime is as good a time as nighttime for a break-in.

You should also get to know your neighbors. Build a relationship whereby you agree to exchange mobile numbers and provide travel dates. You and your neighbors can create footprints on your snow-covered driveway (or better yet shovel it!) and take in each other’s newspapers and mail. Rely on each other to report suspicious behavior, especially if you know the other is out of town. 

A bit of prevention and watchful eyes on the street go a long way toward protecting the neighborhood.

Learn a few not-too-obvious tips

Here are a few tips that can increase the security of your home:

  • Avoid announcing you’re going out of town for the holidays on Facebook. It isn’t difficult to find your home address in a directory.
  • Make sure to store extra car and house keys inside the house-it’s all too easy for a robber to breach your garage, move inside, and leave in your car.
  • Keep your shrubbery and bushes well trimmed to prevent an easy hiding spot.
  • Utilize adequate outdoor lighting. Front, side , and back porch lights are a great deterrent, and motion-activated lights in the backyard are even better.

Your final line of defense

The above tips will go a long way to keep a burglar outside your home, but if the worst happens, you can still protect your valuables.

  • Burglars are least likely to look for valuables in your children’s room, so consider storing a safe high in the back of a child’s closet.
  • Keep in mind though, if the safe isn’t bolted it can be removed! Out of sight and bolted down is the best practice.
  • Maintain an inventory of your electronics, along with the serial numbers. Keep a record of the date of purchase, original value, and serial numbers.
  • For heirloom items and antiques, keep a photographic or video record of each piece.

While you make sure to enjoy the festivities the family time the holidays have to offer, don’t forget Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”