Holidays are an opportune time for burglars to commit crimes. Christmas holidays seem to be one of the worst. Leaving valuable and important gifts and items unsecure makes us vulnerable and definitely makes the burglar or thief happy with holiday joy. We’ll look at some easy ways to keep your things safe and secure, and give yourself some peace of mind.
Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who and what's going on around you at all times.
Park in an open, well-lit area and make sure to lock your vehicle. Don’t forget to roll up your windows and always place your shopping bags and gifts where they can’t be seen. The trunk is best but it you have an SUV, cover your items with a blanket and/or put items on the floor in the backseat.
If you carry a purse keep it close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you’re in a large crowd, carry your wallet in your front pocket.
If you get separated from your kids, teach them to go to a store clerk, security guard or police officer for help.
Use an automatic timer for your indoor and outdoor lights.
Ask a neighbor to watch your home, and have them park their vehicle in your driveway from time to time if you’re going to be away for an extended period.
Have neighbors secure your delivered packages.
Have your mail and/or newspaper delivery stopped before you leave for vacation, or have a neighbor pick up your mail/newspaper regularly.
Leave an indoor light on and a radio or TV so it appears that someone's home.
Double check that all your doors and windows are locked when heading out for the evening.
Close blinds and don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
Remember the cliché "Out of sight, out of mind?" The same idea applies to items in your vehicle.
Do not leave bags and packages visible after they're in the vehicle, as your vehicle will most likely become a target for thieves.
Anything left in plain sight, from holiday gifts to spare change, sunglasses, CDs, cell phones or briefcases may tempt a thief. Breaking into an empty vehicle isn't usually worth a thief's time.
Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your vehicle and using anti-theft devices.
Never leave your vehicle running with the keys in the ignition and doors or windows open while you run inside your home or a store.
Before opening your front door to whoever is knocking, ask who it is first.
Strengthen your door and frame from being forcibly entered by using deadbolts with a one-inch throw into the door frames and using four-inch screws on the striker plates.
Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer on your front door with a minimum 190 degree view.
Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when opening your door to a courier.
It is not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door or hang out near a store or parking lot and ask for charitable donations when there's no charity involved.
Break down or cut up your cardboard boxes from the large screen tv, computer monitor, drone, and any other large gifts you received. Make sure they aren’t sitting outside or at the curb on collection day since it gives a good idea of the inventory you have inside.
You might consider keeping the boxes in case gift items have to be returned or for identification should someone break in and steal them. Safe storage, shipping or moving in the future are also good reasons to hold onto your boxes.
Burglars have been known visit homes as a courier or solicitor in order to gain knowledge of your residence. They may actually look inside garbage cans for confirmation of expensive items.
If you see someone suspicious, or a suspicious situation (like a person looking in everyone’s garbage cans), call the local police or sheriff’s office non-emergency line at the time that you are witnessing the event, and report what is taking place.
Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. Usually, you can sign up for email notifications to track packages from shipment to arrival at your residence, or the recipient’s address if you have the gift delivered directly.
If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
If at all possible, switch your delivery location to your work address where it can be actually received by you or someone and not left on the porch.
Holidays are a good time to update or create a home inventory list.
Take photos of individual items and list descriptions and serial numbers. On the other hand, you could make videos of items or the whole room. Stand in the middle of the room, start recording and slowly turn in a circle, making sure all the items you want to capture are visible. Don’t forget to inventory the garage. If your home is robbed, a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make it easier to file insurance claims.
Make sure items like, televisions, computers (laptops, tablets), instruments, stereos, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, home office equipment, weapons and power tools are on the list.
Last but not least, spend time with family and friends and reach out to help those who may be less fortunate. Don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit!
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