This holiday season, don’t let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars and thieves a better chance to do their dirty work. Here are some ways to protect your home and keep it secure during the holidays.
If you are heading out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home. Leaving town for longer? Set a timer for indoor lights. WPHA members who support the neighborhood’s security patrol service can have their home monitored for free while on vacation.
Install outdoor motion detector lights that are triggered any time someone approaches your home at night.
It’s not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there’s no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t give.
Prevent holiday package theft. Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up packages as soon as they are delivered. Switch delivery location to your work address where packages can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
Always lock your vehicle and store all valuable items out of sight. Anything left in plain view — holiday gifts, purses or briefcases, cell phones, cash — could tempt a thief to break into your car.
Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside. Keep your curtains or blinds closed at night or position your Christmas tree so it’s not easily seen from the street. You may also simply want to wait until Christmas Eve before you place presents under the tree.
Be discreet when disposing of packages. One of the easiest ways for thieves to tell if there’s a wealth of valuables is from leftover packing in your trash or recycling sitting on the curb. Break the packaging down and conceal it as much as possible until trash pickup.
The holidays are a good time to update — or create — your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.