While the holidays are usually a joyful season, nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. from November through December each year, according to the FBI. Since burglars are well-aware that expensive new gifts are also part of this time of year, I tis important for homeowners to take some extra precautions to reduce the risk of their holiday celebrations getting ruined by theft.
Going Away for the Holidays
- As with any time of year it is important to take certain safety precautions before leaving your home unattended. It is especially important to do so during the holiday season when burglars are closely watching for potential empty homes. If you are going away, it is best to have a trusted friend or neighbor monitor your home for you. Have this person collect your mail and any packages left on your doorstep. Not only will this serve as a sign of activity to lurking thieves but will also prevent your packages and holiday gifts from being stolen when you are away. In addition, never broadcast the fact that you are going out of town. This means avoid posting information about where you are on social networks or in your voicemail recording. Burglaries monitor for this type of information to indicate their next easy break-in.
Displaying Christmas Gifts
- While no holiday décor is complete without a beautiful tree stuffed with gifts beneath it, it is important to remember that thieves can see exactly what your neighbors can. If your tree and gifts are easily visible from the street in front of your home, you could be putting yourself at risk of getting burglarized. If you insist on placing your tree in front of a window for people to see, make sure to keep your holiday gifts hidden out of sight as long as possible. Also, this means avoiding piling all the gifts under the tree at once. Only put out which ever gifts you are exchanging immediately and keep the others in storage. Leaving a big pile of gifts unattended is practically like inviting a thief inside your home.
- Keep in mind that even when the holidays are over, burglars are still on high alert. Often, observing thieves will monitor people’s garbage to judge what kind of new gifts a family may have gotten during the Christmas season. Large television boxes and packaging of other valued items can serve as a sign to thieves that these pricey items are now inside your home. Be sure to break down gift boxes and other holiday packages and conceal them before placing them out for disposal.