Posted on September 11 2018
From old to young, we all love the holidays and look forward to their arrival each year. It is the time of year when we go on vacation, visit our families, catch up with old friends, take advantage of holiday sales discounts, and enjoy copious amounts of food and alcohol. Unfortunately, the holidays are also one of the happiest and busiest times for burglars, due to those same reasons. So plan for the fixings and plan for the turkey, but don't forget security. It's never too early!
Like business cycles, criminals anticipate the time of year that they can maximize the loot that they bring home. They are aware of the changes in people's habits around the holidays and waste no time in exploiting it. We often make their jobs even easier by not being aware of our surroundings and being distracted by all the holiday excitement, which leads to costly mistakes such as rushing out and leaving doors unlocked.
The numbers say be careful!
Let's go and dive into the details! The troubling fact is that crime rises during the holiday season. The combination of the increased consumption of alcohol, increase in emotions, facing holiday stresses such as traffic and crowded store fronts, and the proactive activities of criminals, makes the holidays holidays an extremely busy time for law enforcement. The majority of this is out of our control, however, protecting our own home and property is one way that we can help to fight crime.
We can do small things to prevent being a statistic by keeping doors and windows locked, keeping stacks of gifts away from windows, and securing our property whenever we leave. This is the time of year many burglars wait for, so all of these are important steps to take.
Evidence of the seasonal increase can be seen in a 2012 report released by the city of Philadelphia that had 194 residential burglary cases the week starting December, compared to an average of 143 cases the previous five months. A 2011 report from California highlighted an 18% above average burglary rate in December for the year. This is the same story for almost every state across the US during the holiday season.
While you make plans this holiday to go out to the malls in order to update your closet with the latest trends, be sure to keep home security in mind. Day time, your shopping time, is busy time for burglars. According to overall statistics, out of all burglaries 1,495,790 occurred during the day.
Some holiday hints that criminals look for...
A large number of burglaries occur due to the small mistakes that we make. Some burglars will carefully watch your every move and in turn plan theirs, while others come across opportunities they simply can’t say no to.
These are a few things that these opportunistic criminals look for, that you can pay more attention to.
They watch for you to throw that suitcase in the car. Last year over 107 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home for the holidays, between December and January, up from 103 million in 2016. Burglars are aware of these numbers and view these travelers as nothing but possible targets. If you are one of the 107+ million this year, work out a plan for home security.
They wait for holiday dinners and house parties. Criminals know that with the increase in holiday gatherings, they will have more empty houses to target. If you leave, lock up carefully and turn on your home security system, then try to give the appearance of someone being home. Leaving some LED lights on costs very little energy, at only about $1 per light a year, and give the appearance that you're home!
Packages on the Doorstep
They see how long your packages stay outside. With the countless number of retail sales simultaneously occurring during December, it’s hard not to get yourself a few small treats, especially with fast amazon prime delivery times. If you find yourself ordering items online this holiday season, try not to leave packages at the front door for hours on end. Criminals use this information to probe you and tell if someone is home. To prevent this, try to have a friend retrieve them, or designate an area for packages that keeps them out of sight, like a side door or back door.
They know your tricks for hiding visitor keys. You have family and friends visiting and you can’t wait for them to see your decorations, but you will be at work when they arrive. So to make things more convenient, you leave your keys under a rock, in the garden... behind a flower pot. The problem is that burglars are well aware of those tricks, so you may be giving free access to someone other than cousin Jerry. This makes it even easier for the 34% of burglars that enter through the front door to gain access.
Instead of having convenience turn into a nightmare, just leave your extra keys with trusted family members, or in a password secure lock box. Even better, there are smart door locks that allow you to unlock your door for visitors wherever you are, though they have their own share of issues. We'll discuss them at another time!
Unlocked Windows and Doors
They look for open and easy access points. It’s easy to rush off to the airport or to a party and forget to lock the front door or a window. This is all the invitation a stranger needs to invite themselves into your home. To prevent such a tragedy, get into the habit of double checking locks before you leave, or get a window-door sensor that gives you alerts wirelessly.
Tips for protecting your home during the holidays!
Here are some simple but effective ways to remove the welcome mat for burglars!
Get an Alarm System
If you haven’t already, you seriously should. It is worth the investment! Houses with no security systems are 2.7 times more likely to be burglarized. However, with a reliable system in place, you can effectively drive away would be robbers, or get them caught in the act. A UNC Charlotte survey conducted on former criminals showed that over 83% would try to determine if there was a security system before burglarizing a property, and 60% would choose another target if there was one present.
Install Security Cameras
Evidence of a CCTV or IP Camera system is the top deterrent to burglars, based on a survey conducted among former criminals. The last thing a burglar wants is evidence of their deeds, so anything that will get them seen will send them running.
Use Motion Detectors
Don’t give crooks the privilege of working in secrecy. For the outdoors, get pet-immune motion detectors set up or attached to lights around your property, waiting to come on if anyone gets too close. And to go with the spirit of the season, have your favorite holiday song play every time it is triggered.
Make it hard for them to get in. A significant amount of burglars, 60.5 percent according to the FBI, gain access through forced entry. They will pick, kick in, or pry open doors to get to their prize. Adding a Single-bolt deadbolt to all your doors, especially to back doors, would add an increased level of security to your home.
Be smart and proactive this holiday season. With just a little holiday planning, awareness and a good home security system; we can ensure that our holiday fun does not become holiday glum.