Tens of millions of Americans travel during the holiday season, and that means an incredible number of vacant houses over the November and December holidays. Homeowners and apartment dwellers need to take active steps to reduce the likelihood of burglary or theft during an absence with smart practices and residential security systems.
Travel and Empty Homes
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) suggests that over 43 million people will drive, fly, or travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holidays. Many more families are also expected to travel during December and into January as the country celebrates the arrival of 2014. Empty homes and increased purchasing activity for the holidays create a significant lure for thieves and require residential security systems to work overtime.
Creating an Illusion and Theft Deterrent
For families that plan to be away for the holidays, there are some easy ways to reduce the potential for theft, and most of these methods cost very little or are even free. Ensuring that an empty home is less attractive for burglars starts with making it appear as though the home isn’t actually empty. This might mean installing timers on the lights. Today’s timers can also be hooked up to items like the television or the radio that should improve the illusion that someone is at home.
It’s also essential that the home looks no different from the way it does when the family is at home. Closing all the shades and blinds isn’t a good idea unless that’s something a homeowner does regularly. A thief will often observe a home before attempting a burglary, and any change in behavior, such as several days of closed drapes, may indicate that no one is home.
Additional protection is available from a home security alarm system that includes glass break detectors that will notify a homeowner or the security monitoring company of unauthorized entry.
Keep Maintenance Schedules Intact
An overgrown lawn and a pile of unread newspapers sitting at the door are one of the most visible signs that there is no one at home. For any absence that may last longer than a few days, make sure that the mail and newspapers are put on hold. Most homes won’t require lawn maintenance during the winter; however, for anyone who lives in a warmer climate, ensure lawn care schedules remain active during the family’s absence.
Don’t Broadcast the Absence
The internet and social media have made it easier for families and friends to remain connected despite large distances, but it’s also made it a lot easier for thieves to figure out when a family might be gone from their home. Never broadcast the absence to everyone through Twitter or Facebook and only let close friends or family know about the travel before it begins. In addition, never post pictures during the vacation. Wait until the vacation or holiday visit is over to share those holiday adventures with friends.
The best defense against holiday burglaries is attention paid to a variety of home security rules and devices. Ensure the home security alarm system is active by testing it before departure and make sure that items like surveillance cameras and locks are in working condition. As an added layer of protection, let close friends and family know about the absence so that they might keep an eye on the residence.