Before you go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house this holiday season, take a few common-sense steps to keep your home and belongings safe while you’re away. We expect you already know that it will be wise to alert a trusted neighbor to your absence, make sure all your doors and windows are locked, and not to leave a spare key under the doormat, but there are a few more, less obvious things you can do to keep the Grinches from stealing your holiday cheer.
- Don’t tempt porch pirates. When Santa shops online, be sure the bounty isn’t delivered to your home while you’re away. “Porch pirates” are cruising neighborhoods right now, looking for inviting piles of cardboard boxes they can pirate and pilfer. Don’t tempt them.
- Hide the Loot. Don’t pile up Best Buy boxes and bags from other obviously choice retail spots on the dining room table so you can get right to gift wrapping when you get home, especially if you like to keep your curtains open so you can see your beautiful tree as you drive up. Let folks do their window shopping some place else– especially the thieving ones.
- Make some noise. Set up an iPad or clock radio near the front door and time it to turn on during the day, or link your TV to your smartphone and turn it on remotely– crank up the volume!
- Light it up. It’s pretty easy to install timers on your outside lights and indoor lamps. Nothing says “Nobody home” like a dark house.
- Anticipate the weather. If you live where bad weather is probable or even possible, make arrangements to have your sidewalk and/or driveway shoveled and walk over that pristine apron of snow in your front yard a few times!
- Lock it down. Add an extra barrier to access to would-be robbers with a combination lock on your backyard fence gate. Don’t forget to add a combination lock to your shed, too– if you’re like most people, that little building is loaded with expensive tools and equipment– easy stuff to sell or pawn.
- Cut them back. Before you deck the trees and shrubs planted along your home’s foundation with twinkling lights, give them a good trim. Too much growth, especially in front of windows, gives a thief just enough coverage to hide from neighbors while they gain entry to your home.
- Don’t overshare. Uploading a post to Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok of your minivan loaded to the gills with the caption “Off to grandma’s! See everyone next Sunday!” is an open invitation for thieves to check out the bounty on offer at your place. Don’t Just don’t. 13. Try to rob your own home.
- Take Some Photos. You should do this for insurance purposes anyway, so prior to holiday is as good a time as any to inventory– and photograph– your valuables. Take a photo or two of anything in your domain that might tempt a burglar– antiques, jewelry, electronics, fancy tools, the Picasso on the wall in the den…you may never need this visual record, but if you ever do, it will be invaluable not only for reconstructing what was taken for the police report but also in processing your claim.
- Install a home security system. While these other 9 items are prudent and wise measures everyone should take to foil burgers at the holidays and year round, the most important and effective thing you can do is have a professional home security system installed. Consider a home security system that notifies the police when an intruder enters your home. One that not only detects intruders but also monitors the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide provides an extra layer of protection, Keep in mind that, in addition to providing peace of mind for you while you’re at home and when traveling, having a home security system may lower your insurance costs. If you live in the Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington DC, or the surrounding metro area, a highly rated systems integrator like Next Generation Security Concepts can plan and install an effective solution for your safety, security and peace of mind.