December is a month of giving, but if you’re not careful it can be a time for taking as well. Lured in by the promise of new, expensive gifts, thieves consider the holidays their busy season. This month historically sees about 400,000 home robberies, which accounts for about one-fifth of the total robberies in a full year. We are continuing our look at staying safe for the holidays by examining ways you can deter would-be thieves from your home.
Don’t advertise new purchases. Leaving your empty big screen TV box out on the curb may be a beacon to draw thieves to your property. Instead, break the boxes down and turn them inside out or put them in a garbage bag so they won’t be visible to those driving by and possibly casing the neighborhood for targets.
Make your home looked lived in. Even if you are just leaving for a short time, make sure you take precautions to make it look like you are home. Put your mail on hold, have a neighbor pick up your newspapers, and put your lights on timers. Dead giveaways that you are gone for an extended time are putting your trash out on Friday for a Monday pick up and letting flyers and newspapers pile up.
Ensure your entrances are secure. Use the locks you have (no matter how safe you think your neighborhood may be) and consider upgrading to a high quality deadbolt. Garage doors are a favorite entry point so ensure those are always closed. When you leave town, unplug your automatic garage door, which makes it impossible for thieves to use a universal remote or other methods to gain entry.
Consider an Alarm System –or at least notices that claim you have an alarm system. These just might be as much of a deterrent as the alarms themselves. However, in this day and age you have lots of options for alarms that link right to your smart phone and will not cost you an arm and a leg for monitoring.
Take away hiding spots. Trim the bushes around your house to eliminate places where intruders could hide. Install motion sensors to light all the entry points into your house.
Keep your valuables out of sight. Make sure your treasures and high cost items are not clearly visible from windows. Also consider hiding your valuables, such as important jewelry, in plain sight in diversion safes.
Implementing these easy and cost effective safety measures will help decrease your chances of a break in this holiday season and throughout the year. Let us know your safety tips and tricks in the comments.
WandaFears, Realtor ABR CRS GRI WCR
Richmond, Va. Long and Foster Realtors