The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous and wonderful time of year spent with friends and family enjoying each other’s company. In fact, classic songs have dubbed the holiday season as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for burglars looking to capitalize on living rooms filled with gifts and homes of families who have gone on vacation and left their homes vulnerable to invasion.
From cash and credit cards to expensive jewelry and the most advanced electronics, burglars can ransack a home and ruin a family’s holiday season with relative ease if the family isn’t fully prepared. Statistics from the FBI in 2011 showed an estimated 400,000 burglaries during the months of November and December alone, with 70 percent of all burglars classified as amateurs that were simply looking for an easy target.
Along with stealing physical gifts, burglars can also steal your feeling of peace and security – something much harder to replace than physical items. Fortunately, there are ways you can discourage burglary during the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year. Some important tips for doing so include the following:
- Do not hide spare keys in classic or easy-to-find places like underneath doormats or above doorframes. Burglars know where to look for keys.
- Although it looks pretty, avoid putting your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window of your home so it is not as easily visible to passersby.
- Burglars look for signs of an easy target so be aware of those signs. Do not leave boxes for expensive electronics or other items out on the curb. Don’t leave a note on the door saying you went out and will be back at a certain time, and if you go on vacation, make sure someone is picking up your mail and put lights on timers inside your house so it looks like you are at home.
- Avoid posting status updates on Facebook saying you are on vacation and your home is empty.
- Consider installing an alarm system or security cameras at your home. Seeing a decal in the window advertising the type of security system you have or cameras along the outside of the house will discourage a burglar from breaking in.
You should also make sure to keep all receipts and records of serial numbers for major purchases. In a worst case scenario, if you do get robbed, having the exact product description and serial number of the item will greatly help identity the missing items if they can be recovered. Additionally, take photographs of the inside and outside of your house before leaving on vacation so you can easily identity any missing items.
The holidays should be a time of laughter, excitement, and joy, not a time spent talking with the police or a criminal attorney about a break in / burglary. By taking preventative action, hopefully you can eliminate the chance of a break in during the holidays and throughout the year.