Only one intruder is welcome in your home this holiday season, right? That’s the jolly old man sporting a bushy white beard and wearing a bright red suit. He’s welcome to enter your home through any route of access, even if your home lacks his traditional point-of-entry: a fireplace chimney.
Besides, he’s always so quiet. He always slips in while you’re sleeping, and you wouldn’t even know he was there except for the gifts he leaves behind. Well…he might pilfer a glass of milk and snatch a couple of cookies, but that’s OK. He’s welcomed.But other intruders? Not so much.
Other intruders, though, don’t much care whether they’re welcomed. They’ll just bust right in anyway. And they’ll pinch more than just cookies and milk. Lots more. And all of that gift shopping you’re doing at this time of year? Those other intruders are well aware of it. They know you’ve probably got lots of goodies stashed in your house. And they figure that they might as well be the unintended recipients of all those wonderful holiday gifts.
It’s a big problem every holiday season. According to the FBI, nearly 400,000 home burglaries occur in the United States during November and December each year.
Don’t be the Victim of a Holiday Burglar
The increased risk of a break-in during this time of year warrants some extra precaution on your part to avoid becoming a victim. Here are some things you can do to help foil the bad guys:
• Don’t Tweet an Invitation. Social media is a great new way to communicate with family and friends. But be aware that some very unsavory characters might be eavesdropping on your online conversations. So if you’re in the habit of sharing things like travel plans on Facebook or Twitter, you might want to rethink that habit. Do you really want to announce to the world that your home will be vacant and ripe for the plucking on such-and-such date? Don’t make the burglars’ job that easy!
• Lighting. Lots of lighting can be a detriment to lowlifes who prefer to work under the cover of darkness. If you’re away, timers that vary the lights-on/lights-off schedule can help to make the house look lived-in.
• Garage Door Entry. Do you have an automated garage door opener? Is it operated by remote control? Ever heard of universal remotes? Thieves have! Just unplug your garage door opener, and that potential means of entry will be eliminated.
• Tempting Trash. Just been on a gift-shopping spree? Don’t pile the empty boxes from all those expensive gifts with your curbside trash. Those boxes are a dead giveaway of all the goodies you’ve got stashed in your home, making your house a particularly tempting target for burglars. Keep your business undercover by slicing up those boxes and stuffing them into black garbage bags.
• Telltale Signs. If you’re going to be away from home for a few days, be sure that there won’t be any obvious signs of your vacancy. Suspend newspaper and mail delivery, or have a neighbor pick up the papers and collect the mail. And if you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider arranging for a house sitter to live in your home while you’re gone.
• Keep An Eye Out. One of the most effective burglary deterrents is vigilance. You keep an eye out for any strange, out-of-place goings on at your neighbors’ homes, and they do the same for you. A neighborhood watch, whether formal or informal, really does make life more difficult for burglars.
Keep Your Home Safe
The jolly fat man in the bright red suit is welcomed in your home anytime (Well…maybe not anytime. After all, if you spot a fat man wearing a red suit in your home anytime other than Christmas Eve, you might have a bit of a problem on your hands!). But lots of other intruders really want into your home around this time of year.
Play it safe and heed the tips offered by security experts for keeping those bad guys out of your home. Otherwise, the jolly man in the red suit might end up being your only hope for a merry Christmas.