>There are signs that the holidays are approaching: there’s a chill in the air and a blaze in the fireplace; cocoa has become the drink of choice; decorations are popping up on houses and shops throughout the neighborhood; and carols can be heard on local radio stations.
You are undoubtedly busier than usual preparing for your own holiday celebrations, but don’t be so absorbed in your holiday tasks that you ignore safety and crime prevention. Christmas is a joyous time of year for many, but for thieves, it can also be a prosperous time of year, given the volume of gifts being purchased, transported and stored.
Don’t allow your holiday to be ruined by a theft that can be prevented. By taking precautions, you can avoid becoming an easy target for thieves.
As you are walking through shopping malls and stores during the holidays, so are burglars. They are looking for customers who might be easy marks for a theft. Don’t help them succeed!
- Be conscious. Be aware of your surroundings at all times; don’t hesitate to report anything suspicious to mall or store security.
- Hang on. Keep hold of your purse and your packages at all times. Leaving them unattended, even for a moment, makes them ripe for snatching.
- Bare is best. Don’t leave items in your car when it’s parked in mall parking lots or at shopping centres. Why tempt thieves to break in?
- No relays. Don’t return to your car regularly with packages while you’re shopping. If someone is casing the parking lot, seeing packages being stored provide the thief with the clues he needs to scoop up some valuable merchandise.
- Lights on. Park in well-lit, well-travelled areas.
- Short-term storage. Don’t store packages in your trunk for a long period of time.
- Spidey sense. Use your instincts. If someone looks untrustworthy or a location looks dicey, avoid walking nearby.
Protect Your Home From Thieves This Holiday Season:
Your home is your castle; don’t let it become a grab bag for holiday thieves. Christmas is a time of year when we inadvertently advertise our possessions, but these tips will assist with being careful:
- Case the joint. Assess your house critically from the outside, trying to see it as a burglar might.
- Lock them out. Install solid deadbolts to your doors that can withstand break-and-enter attempts. They can also serve as visual deterrents; burglars know they’ll need to work harder to break in and may go on to another house. Additional deterrents include Mag locks, which wrap around your deadbolts, and strike plates, which protect door frames from being pried apart. Be sure to keep doors and windows locked; don’t run extension cords from indoors to your Christmas lights outside.
- Light up your life. Ensure that the entrances to your home have adequate lighting. Motion lights are triggered anytime someone passes near them, another excellent deterrent for unwanted “visitors.” If you are leaving town for the holidays, or even if you are out most evenings, set your indoor lights on a timer to make it appear as if someone is at home.
- Shield your stuff. Minimize visibility from the street. There’s nothing that makes a thief happier than seeing a pile of expensive gifts piled under a tree. Position your tree away from the window or keep your curtains closed at night.
- No notes. Don’t leave notes for delivery people or couriers telling them you’re not home. It’s an open invitation to burglars to pay a visit.
- Lock up ladders. Don’t leave the ladder that you use to attach Christmas lights outside; thieves will be happy to use it to climb into upper-story windows.
- Enlist help. If you’ll be away from home for the holiday period, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on the house, collect mail and park a car in your driveway to give your home a lived-in look. Arrange to have your sidewalks and driveway shoveled in the event of a snowfall while you are away.
- Key information. Don’t hide a spare key outside your home. Burglars know all the hiding places. Instead, give a spare key to a trusted friend or neighbor who will be in town when you return from vacation.
- Document purchases. If you’re buying expensive gifts for others, use your cell phone to snap photos of the items and record their serial numbers. Keep the receipts somewhere safe in case you need to show them to the police.
- Cardboard confetti. Tear gift boxes into small pieces and stuff them near the bottom of the trash bin. Why advertise all the expensive presents you have just received?
- Be un-Social-ble. If you’re out of town, don’t post photos on social media advertising that you’re away. Why make your home a target? Your friends will be just as happy to see your photos once your return.
Reading these tips may make you feel gloomy, but don’t worry. If you take these precautions, it’s unlikely you’ll have to worry during the holidays. Remember the old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.