Although I am an advocate for increasing and strengthening the security of your home all of the time, the Christmas holiday season is a very particular time of the year to focus on home security. Whether it be because so many of us travel away from home to visit loved ones or because there are a larger number of valuables in the home, burglars and thieves tend to capitalize on this time of year. It is quite common for some jurisdictions to have up to a 20% increase in home burglaries during the month of December. Implementing the following home security measures can greatly decrease your chances of falling victim to an intruder this holiday season.
- Request extra patrol. When you are traveling away from home, call your local police department and request that they conduct extra patrols in your neighborhood. Not only are they glad to do this, the obvious and physical law enforcement presence in your neighborhood sends a strong message to any potential criminal looking for his next target.
- Have and TEST an alarm system. Both alarm systems and surveillance cameras have come a long way in affordability and ease of installation. However, only 17% of homes have a working burglar alarm. Notice I said WORKING. People often get lulled into a false sense of security and routine when they arm and disarm their alarm system each day and they assume it is working properly. When is the last time that you tested your alarm system to make certain that it is communicating with the central monitoring station? This should be done on a regular basis but must certainly be done PRIOR to leaving your home for a trip. If you don’t have an alarm system and feel that it is not in your budget at this time, fake it. Place alarm signs and decals on both the front and back of your home regardless of whether or not you have a system. This alone may send a potential burglar on to the next house.
- Install digital timers. Whether it be for your Christmas light display and/or indoor lighting in your home, the goal is to have it appear active and occupied. Most burglars seek to avoid confrontation and are most often looking for homes that are unoccupied. Make yours appear occupied by use of digital timers. Digital timers, unlike the old manual push button ones, allow you to change the lighting schedule each day. Varying the lighting schedule and theme makes it appear as though the home is occupied. Lights that come on and go off at the exact same time each day, while helpful, don’t send a realistic message that people are home and active.
- Stop the mail. When leaving home for any trip, put a hold on your mail and packages or have a trusted neighbor collect them for you. Packages stacked at the front door for several days or an overflowing mailbox are both clear signals to thieves that you are away and that no one is looking after your home.
- Use discretion on social media. We have all become so dependent on our smart devices and social media platforms as a means to stay connected with friends, family, and the latest current events. However, broadcasting to the entire world that you are traveling and away from home for Christmas this year is not the best or the brightest idea. Criminals may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer but they are good gamblers who are constantly weighing the risk. In their minds, a large amount of risk to them is mitigated if you are 700 miles away from your home when they decide to burglarize it.
In light of the fact that a home burglary occurs every 13 seconds in the United States, implementing these security measures can stack the odds in your favor so that you are far less likely to become a victim this holiday season. To learn more about obtaining a security evaluation, training for a critical incident, or strengthening the security of your home, school, church, or business, please visit our website at www.defendsystems.com or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping people achieve real security.