As a kid, Home Alone filled my head with great ideas to protect the house from burglars. Top tactics included overly iced steps, hot door handles, trip lines, and flying paint cans. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on the creativity of an 8 year old. Today, we have advanced home security and ADT-monitored alarm system technology to help protect our homes.
Research suggests the highest percentage of residential burglaries occur in the summer months. But, there is a dramatic spike during December due to the holidays.
“85% of these burglaries are committed by non-professionals that are usually more desperate and dangerous,” says Officer D. Brown of the Columbus, Ohio police department.
Most of these break-ins occur during the daytime hours. Homes without security systems are highly targeted. Criminals also look for privacy fencing and large shrubs that help conceal their activities.
“Homeowners can take simple steps to help prevent a burglary,” Officer Brown said. “Install a security system, update the lock strike plate on doors, and install automatic interior lights. Dusk to dawn exterior lighting is great too.”
"Don't post on social media when you're away," adds Officer C. Springer, of the Decatur, Indiana police department.
Here are 10 more tips for helping to protect your home while you’re away for the holidays.
- Install Smart locks to your doors Criminals often enter homes through a back door or side window. Smart door locks create a unique code for entry. So, you don’t need to hide or give away spare keys. ADT Pulse can send texts or email alerts when someone locks or unlocks a door.
- Shovel your driveway A cleared driveway indicates someone is home. If you’ll be traveling during snowy days, plan in advance. Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to shovel your driveway while you’re gone.
- Cover your windows Close your curtains while away. Large uncovered windows allow criminals to see what is inside your home. Windows are also a common entry point. Have window sensors installed in your home with ADT monitoring. When your system is armed, professionals get alerted about forced entry.
- Point your home security cameras at your doorway With a new view on your front door, you can catch any criminals in the act. Home security cameras also help track packages delivered to your home. Set up another camera to look at your valuables. Make sure everything is exactly how you left it.
- Store Christmas gifts in a safe spot Don't keep presents in the garage or shed where criminals can easily break in. Criminals often grab jewelry and electronics because they are easy to pawn. They also steal wrapped gifts that might have high resale value.
- Ask neighbors to watch your house while you're gone Include a list of people or cars that regularly visit your home. Encourage them to report any suspicious persons or vehicles.
- Install timers on indoor and outdoor lights You can also install motion lighting sensors for the exterior of your home.
- Ship your packages somewhere safe As consumers, we do a lot of online shopping during the holidays. Ship packages to your workplace whenever possible, or use in-store pickup options. If you must ship something to your house, set-up email or text alerts to confirm when packages arrive. Use your ADT Pulse(R) home security systems to arm and disarm your system while family or a neighbor take your packages inside. Officer Springer suggests asking your mail carrier about delivering packages to your back door.
- Don’t put boxes from Christmas gifts in your trash Criminals will dig through your trash. They are searching for boxes of high-priced items, such as big screen TVs and other expensive electronics. Break down or tear apart your boxes. You can also take large boxes to your local recycling center.
- Avoid using yard decorations that give criminals a place to hide Holiday decorations are fun and entertaining, but make sure they don’t create great hiding spots.
This holiday season, join me by warming some hot chocolate, grabbing some popcorn, and reminiscing with Kevin McCallister and Home Alone. But, when it comes to home safety, call Protect Your Home to learn all about ADT-monitored home security and alarm systems for your home.