Home security is a year-round pursuit, and while you should practice good home security every day of the year, there are some extra security precautions that are appropriate to different times of the year. Here is a month-by-month guide to security practices that will help you keep your home and family more secure.
If you have packaging left over from Christmas presents, don't let it advertise all the great new products you bought to passersby. Wait until your normal trash/recycling collection day to place boxes by the curb. Ideally, you should break boxes down and fold them so that the plain side of the cardboard is showing.
February — Planning a ski holiday
? In addition to having a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your property, ask if they will drive a car in your driveway if there is fresh snowfall to make it appear that there's been activity at your house. If you normally have someone shovel your walkway, arrange for this service while you're away too, for the same reason. And don’t forget to put some lights on timers to give the appearance someone is home.
March — Trim back hedges
and other vegetation that threatens to obscure windows. It's easier to access shrubs before everything leafs out in the spring. Cutting back vegetation minimizes hiding places for intruders to hide in.
A nice balmy spring day may mark the first time you open windows for the year. Make sure all windows open, close and lock properly. When you're away, don't forget to close second-story windows. There are many ways clever burglars can access these windows.
If nice weather is prompting some DIY projects around your home, be sure to store your ladder securely when you're not using it. A ladder is just the thing a burglar needs to access second-story windows, or high windows he wouldn't otherwise be able to reach.
Give attention to online security. If your kids are out of school for the summer, make sure they know not to post information about vacations on social media sites. They should not post photos of new electronics or other purchases online, either. Set up social media privacy to ensure posts only reach the people you want them to reach.
Are you an avid gardener and landscaper? Make sure that all lawn equipment and tools are stored securely. Tools in particular are top targets of thieves because they're portable and valuable.
If you're going on vacation, ask your local police precinct if they offer free vacation security checks. This service involves police regularly driving by your property and reporting unusual activity to you. It's a great adjunct to normal home security measures you should take before your vacation.
Hedges and shrubs that could not be pruned in the spring (due to blossoming schedules) can now be safely pruned back. Check all vegetation around your home and trim it back as necessary.
If you hand out treats to trick-or-treaters, make sure that valuables are out of sight to those arriving at your front door. To a burglar, the inside of your house is a catalog showroom, and some may take the opportunity to briefly "case" your front rooms.
If you're traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's, take all home security precautions you usually take for vacations. If you're a Black Friday shopper, make sure purchases are stored out of sight of ground floor windows…and stored in the trunk if you bring purchases out to the car and then go back to shopping.
A Christmas tree in the front window is beautiful, but it's a good idea to store gifts where they can't be seen from outside. Avoid announcing holiday party plans on social media sites because this lets people know when your house will be unoccupied.
You should test your home security system once a month year-round to ensure that all systems are working properly. Sensors can get knocked out of alignment, and batteries can go weak, so it's important to stay on top of system functioning regularly.
The key to helping keep your home safe is to take a comprehensive approach to security, including taking steps at certain times of year when they can benefit you most.