The holidays are a wonderful time for celebrating and spending time with family; but with all of the extra guests, cars and presents around, plus the fact that you may be out of town for a while visiting relatives, it can also be a tempting season for burglars and thieves. Here are some tips on keeping your home safe and secure this holiday season, so that all you have to worry about is not over-cooking the holiday ham.
Be Smart About Social Media
If your accounts aren’t totally private, don’t post specific information online about when you and your family will be out of town; that’s basically a shout-out to burglars saying, “Hey! We’re not around this week! Come on by!”
Of course, you want to share info with your friends and family—but remember to update your security settings before you post anything. And, consider how many “friends” and “followers” you may have on social media who aren’t really close friends of yours. D-Link reminds us to not post our exact home address and hold off on posting pictures of you and the family at the ski lodge until you’re back home.
Be a Friendly Neighbor
If you will be out of town for a while, ask your neighbors to keep an eye on things at the house. If they see suspicious people poking around or driving by repeatedly, they should notify the authorities.
Plus, to make it appear as if you are at home instead of off on a great holiday vacation somewhere, ask your neighbors to take out your garbage and collect your mail. Garbage cans that don’t get lugged to the street on trash day and full mailboxes are signs to burglars that you’re away from the nest. If you have really awesome neighbors, ask them to park one of their cars in your driveway to really confuse the criminals!
Mind Your Packages
You’re probably doing a lot of online holiday shopping this season—so if you’re scheduling some packages to arrive at your home, make sure you’ll be around to collect them. The last thing you want on your front porch is a pile of boxes from a department store. Schedule shipping dates that allow you to grab your parcels right away, or schedule a delivery to your local post office or FedEx office.
Lock the Garage Door
If you have an automated garage door, it may not be locked at all times when it’s closed. Home Advisor says it’s best to leave the garage door closed and locked at all times, even when you’re at home. If you have an entryway to your home via the garage door, closing the garage isn’t enough to deter a determined thief: make sure the door from the garage into your home is locked and protected, too.
Get Rid of the Hide-A-Key
If you’re worried about getting locked out, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep a spare set of your keys. That way, you can call them if you’re in a pinch and grab the extra copy. Burglars know that many of us are guilty of storing a spare key somewhere on the porch or in the shrubs; if you didn’t hide it in a really, really good spot—they could find it, and simply let themselves into your home.
Update Your Security Measures
This tip applies to all seasons, not just the holidays. Updating your security system is important, whether you’ve just moved in, or you’ve been in your home for a decade. Make sure that there’s clear signage posted in the front that warns any potential thieves of your alarm system—and for that matter, install one! Ask about motion sensors on doors and windows on the ground floor, and motion activated lights for the exterior. You may occasionally pick up a rogue rodent, but a flashing light will be enough to send any potential burglar running in the opposite direction.
Keep your home’s exterior and interior well-lit, even when you’re not at home. You can schedule your lights to go on and off with a timer; a completely dark home makes it very obvious that no one’s home, so set up your lights to turn on at dusk and off at dawn.
If you’re out of town a lot, consider installing security cameras so that you can check in on things while you’re away. This is great for pet owners, and anyone who might live in a highly-populated area. Being away can be stressful if you’re worrying about your home, but if you can log into your camera system online and make sure everything looks good, you’ll have peace of mind.
Beware of Solicitors
Burglars often use the excuse of holiday soliciting, caroling or raising money for a charitable cause to gain entry into your home and scope things out. It’s best if you don’t let strangers into your home, even though you might feel extra friendly and charitable this holiday season.
Excite Home Security reminds us to never give out personal information, like credit card numbers, to these solicitors.
It’s important to take safety measures during the holiday season, and if you’re in the process of moving to a new home, you have a great opportunity to get your home safe and protected from the outset. If you’re still looking for movers, call Highland Van & Storage today at 604-581-2300 for all of your short and long-distance moving needs!