The holidays are here and that means many of us will be traveling. Keeping your home safe and secure during the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether for a day across town or for a week at grandma’s across the country, we’ll likely be leaving our home unattended for some duration of time this holiday season.
Nothing is worse than coming home after a wonderful holiday vacation to find your home has been burglarized or worse. Keep your home safe and secure during the holidays with these helpful suggestions.
Keeping Your Home Safe and Secure During the Holidays
With shorter days, and longer nights, it’s important to have your home illuminated in a way that mimics a resident at home. You want your home to look as though it is occupied – lights turning on and off at regular and random times throughout the day and evening. While this can be accomplished with timers, a better solution is smart home features that allow you to turn on lights with your cell phone from anywhere. You can set timers for lights that are used at specific times of the day like the living room light or the kitchen lights. You can turn off and on the porch light with your phone to make it looks as though someone is home. If possible, ask a trusted neighbor to come by the house in the evening when the lights are on, and walk around the interior of the home. Anyone looking at the home from outside will see that the home is occupied and move on to other targets.
We all love a home that has been festively decorated with lights and other décor. However, hanging lights can be dangerous, especially in the snow. If you’re going to hang lights outside be sure to have someone with you who can hold the ladder and keep it steady. Only use a ladder on secure surfaces. Don’t place it on ice or slick surfaces. Consider hiring a professional holiday home decorator for this dangerous job. They’re more affordable than you think and they do a wonderful job making your home look festive. Decorations on the outside of the home are another way to show potential thieves that you’re home, even if you aren’t. People who plan to be away for the holidays don’t usually decorate their home, so by decorating your home, you’re adding another layer of protection from thieves.
Lock It Up
The sad fact is that most homes get robbed because the homeowner didn’t lock the house or garage. It’s easy to become complacent, but it’s vitally important to lock up your home when you’re away from it. In fact, it’s important and prudent to lock your doors when you’re in your home as well. If you park your car outside the garage, but have a garage door opener in your car, you’ll want to lock your car or bring the garage door opener into the house with you. Yes, it is inconvenient, but it could save a life. Don’t leave keys hanging on a hook where they can be seen from the front or back door, this just invites someone to break the door in to access the keys to the car.
If you have an attached garage, pack and unpack your vehicle in the closed garage. Don’t let people see that you are packing for a trip or that you are packing gifts. When shopping or out running errands be sure to lock your car and never leave a purse in view. In fact, don’t leave a purse or backpack in the car when it’s not attended. Thieves won’t hesitate to break a window if they see a purse or bag that might contain a laptop. Thieves will also look in the trunk if possible so just don’t do it. Groceries have also been known to be stolen this time of year. If hauling your groceries with holiday trimmings, go straight home after going to the grocery store.
We’re buying more and more online these days, which means packages will be piling up outside our door if we’re not home to bring them in. Nothing is more tempting and easier for a thief than to walk up and steal your packages. Amazon is now taking pictures of the packages at the door when delivered. That hardly helps the homeowner if they aren’t home to bring them inside. If you aren’t going to be home when packages arrive, consider having them delivered to your workplace, or a trusted neighbor’s home. Many Fedex deliveries can be delivered to your local Walgreens, and if using the USPS, you can ask them to hold any packages for you to pick up. UPS also offers this service. Amazon has kiosks all over – malls, grocery stores etc, where you can have your packages delivered and stored in a locker that only you can open. It may not be as convenient, but you know you’ll get your packages.
Recycling and Trash
Don’t tempt thieves by putting boxes that contained new TVs, computers or gaming consoles in the recycling. Be sure to break the boxes down so you can put them in the receptacle and out of sight. If thieves know you’ve got a brand new expensive laptop inside, they might be more inclined to attempt to break into your home.
As home builders in the greater St. Louis area, we know how important home is this time of year, and always. We strive to build the kinds of homes you can entertain family and friends in for years to come. We want you to be safe this holiday season, and beyond. Keeping your home safe and secure during the holidays and all the time is important to us.
We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year. We hope you get to spend these holidays with family and friends. It’s been a pleasure being your homebuilder and we look forward to working with you in the coming new year.