The holiday season is a time when people buy, and it’s also a time when they travel to visit friends and family. Whether you are at home or away, there are steps you should take to protect your home and belongings from holiday crime. Here are some tips on how to protect your home over the holidays.
Why Are Robberies Higher Over the Holidays?
The holiday season is the worst time of the year for two types of crimes: robberies and personal larceny/theft, with an increase of approximately 20% during December, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.
There are a number of reasons why robberies may increase over the holidays. One motive is that people may be facing financial difficulties and either need the money or want to procure items they can give as gifts to their own friends and family. Criminals also know that people are ordering and purchasing more expensive items.
Cybercrime is also on the rise this time of year, with Internet scams waiting to catch unsuspecting online shoppers.
Tips to Protect Your Home Over the Holidays
Lock your doors and windows
This may seem like a no-brainer, but often people forget to check all entry points into their home. And criminals know that. Before you leave the house, and even when you are at home, ensure that your doors and windows are closed and locked.
Secure delivered packages
Piles of packages on the porch are a beacon to porch pirates who are scanning neighborhoods for easy targets. Have packages delivered to or picked up by an at-home neighbor. Use a PO Box for deliveries. Or hire a Home Watch service to monitor your home for packages and signs that nobody is home.
Keep gifts out of sight
Many families like to put their Christmas tree in a front window, and leave the curtains open so that the tree can be viewed from the outdoors. And often, gifts are piled under the tree. A criminal can look through your window and see what is available to grab. Keep expensive items, like televisions and electronics, out of the line of sight as well.
Don’t flaunt purchases
If you are purchasing large-ticket items, be discreet. When you load them into your car, cover them up. And lock your car doors. “Seventy-five percent of larcenies came from cars that were left unlocked,” explained crime analyst Rick James. In addition, criminals may see what’s inside your car and follow you home! After you unbox your items, don’t place the boxes out by the curb where they can announce your new purchase. Destroy the boxes or haul them away.
Be careful what you share on social media
Announcing that you will be away, or sharing photographs of your trip can tip off a potential burglar to your empty home. Although it’s tempting to share, save those photos and posts until you return safely.
Use caution when using the Internet
Although it may not relate to protecting your home over the holidays, protecting your identity is just as important. Cybercriminals know that people will be shopping online and have intricate ways of capturing your personal data.
- Don’t respond to emails where you don’t recognize the email address.
- Don’t open links from people you don’t know.
- Shop through trusted sites. Look for the “s” in the https address on a site or the lock icon next to the URL. This means the site is secure.
- Never give your social security number to an online retailer
Protect Your Home with a Professional Home Watch Service
At Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge, we’re both trained and experienced in how to protect you home while you’re away for the holidays. We’ll secure all those doors and windows, check lighting and alarms, and be alert for any signs of a break-in or attempt. We can also be on the lookout for packages you’ve ordered, and can secure them inside your home and out of sight. We want your home to look like somebody’s at home, even if you’re not.Anything can happen to a home that’s not occupied. The water heater can break. The electricity could go off and cause the pipes to freeze. Or criminals can target a home when they know you’re away. Eliminate your worry so you can enjoy your holidays by using a professional, licensed and bonded Home Watch service…like Golden Rule.
If you’re in the Northern Virginia region and are planning to travel over the holidays, give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk about your needs and how our Home Watch, Car Watch or Concierge services can help. Contact us at 855-928-2424 for a free consultation.