The holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year — not only for families — but burglars as well. Thieves will seek out homes with expensive gifts inside or strike whenever families are on vacation. Unfortunately, many people leave themselves susceptible to these break-ins.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 40% of home burglaries don’t involve forced entry, and 60% of burglars would actually avoid a target if there was any evidence that people were inside. 51% of would be burglars even checked for a car in the driveway before committing their crime. Those three things considered, simple steps and awareness can help prevent a burglary situation.

Prepare Properly

Be Wary of Solicitors or Fake Door-to-Door people

Some criminals will pose as delivery men or they will try to solicit people with fake door-to-door charities during the holiday season in an effort to scope out people’s homes. and scope Our previous door knocking guide will help you know how to deal with a door-knocking encounter.

Exterior Lighting

Whether you’re home or on vacation, it’s important to have exterior lights that will keep the perimeters of the home well lit. Lighting needs to expose vulnerable areas like doorways, garages, or even fencing that could provide cover for a would-be crook. Also purchase motion sensing lights that will only come on in the event of movement, that way electric bills don’t skyrocket.

Take Your Name off of the Mailbox

A name on the mailbox can give a burglar just enough information so that he can look up a homeowner and call the resident to see if you are home or away. Don’t advertise that you are away from the home in your answering machine either.

Don’t Run Cords Through Windows

Don’t’ run cords for holiday lights through windows. This will keep windows open and make it really easy for burglars to gain entry. This is a common mistake that homeowners may do based on convenience when putting up there lights.

Don’t Receive Mail or other Deliveries

Stop receiving mail and other deliveries if you won’t be home. A cluttered front porch provides burglars with items they can take, or informs them that the homeowners are away. Reach out to neighbors for assistance picking up mail.

Don’t Leave Valuables Visible

Make sure your valuables aren’t visible from outside of the home. This includes Christmas gifts, but also other common household items like televisions, stereo systems, et cetera.

Don’t Advertise Your Gifts

Don’t advertise gifts on social media, and make sure empty gift boxes are broken down and disposed of properly. Turn them inside out and don’t place them on a curb or location that will advertise the gifts you have received.

Inform Police, Neighborhood Watch Groups, and Neighbors

Your community and acquaintances are valuable tools for protecting your home. Neighborhood watches and police often patrol and check on homes that they know are vacant.

Neighbors can also keep an eye on the home and help with any maintenance or simple tasks like mail collection that you may need.

Video Monitoring with Monitored Security  

The best way to stay informed about the goings and happenings of your home is to have home security with a video-streaming feature. You can stay up to date and make sure everything is going good, and knowing you have monitored security will ensure that law enforcement are there in case anything goes awry.

Home Security Checklist

Standard safety checks:

  • Make sure to lock every door, window, garage, or other opening.
  • Secure sliding and pet doors.
  • Make sure home security is activated.
  • Place signs that advertise your home security system.
  • Lock up ladders, tools, and lawn furniture.
  • Hide valuables in a safe or safety deposit box.
  • Remove hidden keys, burglars usually know where to look.
  • Make sure gifts aren’t visible.

Help from the neighbors:

  • Ask neighbors to watch your house.
  • Provide neighbors with emergency contact information.
  • Ask neighbors to collect newspapers, flyers and mail that may arrive, or cancel these. deliveries all together.
  • Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, or leave a car parked.

Make it look like people are home:

  • Put lights, TV’s, radios on timers to imitate someone in the home.
  • Trim overgrown trees and shrubbery.
  • Install motion-sensing lights.
  • Breakdown all cardboard boxes.
  • Avoid posting about vacation on social media. Online hashtags, especially on profiles that may be public like Twitter or Instagram, can alert criminals of your absence.

Our printable holiday security checklist is an easy tool to make sure you have all of the essentials covered this holiday season.