Thursday, December 18, 2014 / by Teresa Dipeso
If you're a fan of classic Christmas movies like Home Alone, you know what can happen while you're gone for the holidays. Empty homes are targets for burglars looking for gifts of electronics, jewelry, and other “fenceable” merchandise.
According to HomeAdvisor, home burglaries account for $4.7 billion in property losses every year in the U.S. A home burglary occurs every 13 seconds, and almost one-third occur through unlocked doors or windows.
Keep in mind, three out of four burglaries are residential. Before you leave your home for the holidays, follow theses six tips be sure to protect it against burglary
1. Be Neighborly. Tell trusted neighbors how long you'll be away and ask them to watch your home for you. Offer to do the same when they take a vacation.
2. Mums the Word. In this age of oversharing, don't advertise on social media that you're leaving for Christmas vacation. That means face book, twitter, Instagram, and others. Instead post your photos and comments after you return home.
3. Think Smart. Burglars look for easy access and quick getaways. They typically spend no longer than eight to ten minutes inside and look for easy to carry items. So make your home less inviting by putting secure locks on all windows and doors. Keep bushes and trees trimmed. Look for places intruders can gain access out of sight of neighbors. And the key you keep under the mat? Take it with you or leave it with your trusted neighbor.
4. Security Systems Go Along Way. Homes without security systems are 300 times more likely to be burglarized than homes without, so a security alarm system is a great idea and well worth the cost as having one will help lower your homeowners insurance. While most burglaries happen during the day, motion-sensored lighting is also a great deterrent. Get an automated system to turn lights and TVs on and off periodically so your home looks occupied while you're gone. Home security systems such as Protect America start at $20 a month.
5. Plan Ahead. Burglars look for signs you're gone, such as lights that stay on during the day and a buildup of mail and advertising flyers on doorknobs. Ask your neighbor to pick up your mail and keep the doorway clear of flyers. You can also go to your local post office and request that your mail be held while you're gone. And if you're still taking a newspaper, make sure you call the paper and drop service while you're gone.
6. Recycle Wisely. Once you return from your Christmas vacation, your home could still be inviting to burglars. If you had a great holiday with lots of presents, don't advertise the fact to thieves by stacking your outdoor trashcans with empty electronics boxes and shopping bags from expensive stores.
Take precautions and you will have a happier, safer holiday season!