Sadly, every holiday season there is at least one tragic story on TV of a charity like Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army being the victim of a burglary. How can anyone take something meant for the needy? Unfortunately thieves don’t take into account the time of year or the intentions of their victims when planning a heist. All they are looking for is an opportunity to steal with minimum risk of being caught.
What you don’t see on TV, are the thousands of home burglaries that take place in November and December. The FBI’s national crime statistics report over 400,000 burglaries during the holidays. ‘Tis the season of peace on earth, goodwill to men and, apparently, sweet pickings for thieves.
So, what can you do to keep from becoming a statistic this season? Here are a few tips from the National Crime Prevention Council:
- Don’t identify your home as a target. Keep gifts and expensive decorations away from the windows. If you can see them from the street, so can a burglar.
- Keep sliding doors locked. Sliding doors at the rear of a home are a favorite point of entry for thieves. Older sliding doors are particularly susceptible as they can be removed from their tracks. Consider buying a “patio bar” (about $25) which will not only prevent the door from sliding open but also prevent it from being removed from the track.
- Trim up the hedges. Don’t let a thief use your landscaping as cover. Trim back hedges and bushes, particularly those under windows.
- Don’t advertise what Santa brought. Break down the manufacturer’s cardboard boxes for the big screen TV, desktop computer, grandfather clock and other high end gifts. Take those boxes directly to a recycling center. Never leave them at the curb waiting for trash pickup.
- Keep ’em guessing. If you leave the house for shopping or to attend a holiday gathering, leave a few lights on to give the appearance (and sound) that the house is occupied. A lit lamp in the living room and a bedroom, plus a TV left on will give the house that “somebody is home” look that will leave the bad guys looking for an easier target.
A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to home security, but sometimes the hectic pace of the season causes us to forget. We hope that these tips serve as a reminder, and that your holidays are safe and secure.
Thank you Olympus Insurance for providing this important information.