The holiday season is a time to be jolly and joyful, but it’s also a favorite time of year for thieves. If you aren’t sure what to watch for, things like property damage, theft, and anxiety could put a damper on your holiday celebrations. Here are some tips to get you through the holiday season safely and securely:
- Don’t leave expensive packages in your car.
Not everyone at the mall on Black Friday is there to enjoy the deals. Sometimes thieves are looking to take advantage of shoppers who have just spent hard-earned cash on a good bargain.
One of the best security measures you can take while shopping is to drop off purchases at home instead of storing them in your car. This is especially true of consumer electronics, which tend to come in identifiable boxes. Simply covering these packages with a blanket or hiding them beneath other boxes won’t conceal them from clever thieves. Take your purchases home as soon as you leave the store.
- Minimize bags and stay aware in crowded shopping malls.
The more bags you have with you, the less likely you are to notice a thief slipping away with one or two. And the busier the shopping mall is, the easier it can be for a determined thief to escape into the crowd.
When you’re shopping at a crowded mall, go with a group of friends instead of shopping solo. Try to keep the amount of bags you carry at a minimum. If possible, consolidate purchases from different stores into a single bag.
- Don’t throw away your receipts, owners’ manuals, and warranties.
Before they break into your house, thieves often go through your recycling bins or trash cans to find receipts, warranties, and other signs of recent purchases. Instead of throwing away or recycling your paper documents, take them to a nearby recycling center. If you have a paper shredder, run receipts and warranties through it before placing them in your bin. Better yet, hang on to your receipts and warranties for a year or two—you never know when you might need them.
- Be discreet with boxes and packaging materials.
One of the best ways to let a burglar know what gifts you received is to stack the boxes on your driveway or in your overflowing garbage or recycling bin. Take these common-sense steps to conceal your purchases from prospective thieves:
- Flatten the boxes and turn them inside out before recycling them.
- Store the boxes indoors until garbage day.
- Shred the boxes or tear them into small pieces.
- Take cardboard boxes to a nearby recycling facility.
Carelessly tossing large boxes in the trash significantly increases the risks of your home being burglarized. To stay safe, keep the boxes carefully out of sight until you can dispose of them appropriately.
- Employ security measures if you travel out of town.
If you’re traveling over the holiday season, don’t leave your home unguarded. Instead, implement and activate several crucial home security measures.
In particular, consider investing in a professionally installed home security system. Motion sensors and outdoor security lighting are excellent ideas year round, as are deadbolt locks, sash locks for windows, and motion sensors inside your house. Similarly, set your TVs and lights to random timers that simulate a human presence in your home. Light and appliance timers are relatively cheap and come with a wide range of options.
Most importantly of all this holiday season, use common sense as you make important purchases. Don’t advertise your expensive belongings, be discreet with product packaging, and don’t store items in your car as you run from store to store.
Do you have any other holiday security tips? Share them here!