11 Holiday Mistakes that Bring Burglars to Your Door
By:Bob VIlla - January 2, 2019
While you’re busy shopping, decorating, and getting ready for holiday festivities, burglars are preparing for one of their busiest times of the year as well. According to some sources, residential break-ins increase during the holiday season.
Announcing Your Holiday Plans on Social Media
You’re understandably excited about that black-tie Christmas party, but wait until you get back home before sharing the news of your special evening on Facebook. Most social media accounts are visible to many viewers, and you can never tell who might be reading your page. Similarly, you should also avoid answering RSVPs on Facebook. Instead, call the people who invited you to let them know if you’ll be attending.
Displaying Your Christmas Tree in the Window
A big tree shimmering with lights and ornaments announces to the world that you’re in the holiday spirit. We get it—you’re proud of your Christmas tree. But parking that tree squarely in your front window, surrounded by expensive gifts, just gives burglars a chance to window-shop. If you’re going to set up your tree in your front room, at least close your curtains to block the view from outside.
Unloading Packages in the Driveway
If you have a garage, pull your car inside and close the door before you unload all those gifts you purchased. Burglars have been known to watch shoppers leave malls and then follow them home. They wait until you start carrying your packages inside before grabbing a few of them from your unlocked car and dashing away. If you don’t have a garage, always lock your car as you're carrying packages inside, even if you'll be right back for more.
An empty driveway, especially when coupled with a lack of visible activity in the home, is likely to raise a burglar’s suspicions. If you’re going on a holiday vacation, ask your neighbors to park their vehicle in your driveway, arrange to pay someone to shovel your walk if it snows, stop mail and newspaper deliveries, and put your house's lights on timers so it looks like you're home.
Leaving Notes on Your Door for Couriers
Delivery companies are ultra-busy during the holidays, distributing packages from dawn until after dark. While it’s a good idea to instruct them not to leave packages on your porch when you’re at work, don’t stick a note on your door. If you do, you're just letting burglars know you’re gone. Instead, contact the shipping company directly and give them delivery instructions.
Putting Packaging on Display at the Curb
That new 4K big-screen TV is indeed spectacular, but don’t put the empty box out for pickup unless you want everyone who drives down your block to know there’s a new TV in your home. Instead, cut up boxes from expensive items into smaller pieces, and bag them in an opaque trash bag. There’s no sense in advertising that you’re now in possession of luxuries that burglars would just love to get their hands on.
Hiding a Key to Your Front Door
The holidays are a hectic time, crammed with the comings and goings of family and friends. It's tempting to hide a key to make it easier for your visitors to let themselves in, but don't do it! Experienced burglars know all the best key-hiding places, and once they get their hands on the key, they’ll walk right through the door and relieve you of your holiday gifts and other valuables. A better choice is to install a keypad lock and give friends or family members the combination. Just be sure to change the lock code frequently.
Not Locking Your Windows
While most burglars come right through the door (when they can), an unlocked window is also a common point of entry. At this time of year when thieves are out in full force, it’s more important than ever to close and lock your windows before you leave your home or go to bed. If a burglar can’t gain easy access to your home, he may move on and try a different home.
Running Electrical Cords Through Windows and Doors
Everyone wants to decorate the house or yard with lights for the holidays, but if you don’t have an exterior electrical outlet, don’t chance it. Running an extension cord through a window means the window will be partially open, which gives burglars an open invitation to invade your home.
Leaving the Wrong Message on Your Answering Machine
Burglars are pretty savvy, and if they suspect you’ve gone on vacation for the holidays, they’re perfectly capable of using your address to look up your home phone number, then calling to make sure you're not home. If you leave a message telling friends you’re on vacation but will return their calls when you get back, you’ve just given burglars the signal to target your home.
Asking Uninvited Visitors Into Your Home
The holidays are the season of good cheer when charities go door-to-door collecting food and donations, and carolers spread joy and harmony. Burglars know this and often pose as charitable workers or seasonal merrymakers when all they really want is to scope out your house to see if what’s inside is worth targeting. Let these visitors stand on the porch while you fetch your purse or treats.
Don’t let a Grinch ruin this joyful season. Avoid making these mistakes to protect your home and family during the holidays.