You have enough to worry about over the holidays that you should not have to worry about leaving your home while you travel for vacation or a visit with friends and family. Yet, each year, homes fall prey to intruders who wait for homeowners to go away for the holidays.
If you will be travelling over the holidays this year, give yourself some peace of mind. Our home security tips will help you protect your home and alleviate some of the stress associated with holiday travelling.
1. Give the Appearance That You Are Home
Even though you’ve probably seen Home Alone, not all thieves plan or organize their home invasions that thoroughly. In most cases, intruders drive into a dark neighbourhood and look for homes that appear empty or unprotected. To prevent thieves from thinking your home is vulnerable, you need to give the appearance that you are home. Make arrangements for a neighbour or friend to pick up your newspapers and mail each day and to keep an eye out for late packages. This person should also be prepared to shovel snow in the event of a storm if you don’t have a service that does this for you.
Set your lights to turn on and off with timers, but also leave some lights on the entire time that you are gone, so that it appears as though someone is in the home switching lights on and off each day. Consider purchasing flameless candles that are realistic enough to fool someone from the outside into thinking that you have lit candles; most thieves will assume you would not leave a real candle burning if you are away for any length of time.
One final trick to give the appearance that you are home is to put your Christmas tree lights on timers. Most people will not leave their Christmas trees on when they leave home because it can be a fire hazard, so if thieves see your Christmas tree lights come on, they may believe you are home.
2. Make Sure Motion Detectors Work Properly
If you have installed a home security system that is connected to your cellphone, make sure that the motion detectors are set properly so that your curtains or pets will not set off alarms. Keep in mind that your heat most likely will come on while you are gone, so make sure there aren’t any loose items that your heated air will blow in the path of the motion detectors.
If you have motion-detecting lights outside, make sure that they are properly angled to capture movement near doors and windows. Also, make sure that the bulbs work so the lights will come on should anyone get near your home at night.
3. Include Windows in Your Preparations
As you prepare to leave, you probably already double-check your doors and lights. Don’t forget to include double-checking your windows as part of your routine, and make it a point to reinforce ground-floor windows, which are one of the most common break-in sites. If you have double-hung windows, insert sash pins to secure them. Another option is to arm your windows with wireless alarms. It’s also a smart idea to test your windows and their locks prior to your departure so you can make any repairs that are needed to protect your home and belongings.
4. Keep Christmas Gifts Out of Sight
While it may look beautiful for you to display your Christmas gifts at the base of your tree, keep in mind that this looks inviting for thieves. You are especially vulnerable to intruders if you display your tree and gifts in a front window or one they easily can reach from the ground by smashing the window, reaching in, and stealing the gifts without setting foot in your home. The best option is to display Christmas trees and gifts on upper floors that are less visible from outside, or to keep gifts in a closet or other area that is out of sight until you return home.
Avoid unnecessary stress this holiday season by following our tips to protect your home while you travel. Thieves want an easy score, so do all that you can to deter them from even thinking about hitting your home this holiday season by making it look like you are home, making sure your motion detectors, lights, and window locks are in working order, and keeping your gifts out of sight.