The holidays are a time for many people to focus on the importance of gratitude and charity, but there are those ready to rob you of that holiday cheer.
Every 13 seconds, a burglary takes place in the U.S. According to the FBI, over 400,000 burglaries are committed during the months of November and December. Out of those 400,000 burglaries only 15% of those cases are ever solved.
It is estimated that home owners will lose nearly $5 billion in lost damages due to burglary over the course of one calendar year, the holiday months making up a significant portion of that total.
The odds aren't in your favor. Instead of working with investigators to try and recover stolen goods, just make a few changes to ensure that your home and car don't ever get broken into in the first place.
Now that you know the facts, it's time to take action. Implement precautionary strategies to keep your valuables safe.
Here is what you can do:
Set the alarm.
Sounds so simple, but there are people who fail to arm the security system before leaving for the day. That's like having an umbrella in your hand, but not holding it over your head in a rain storm. You have the protection, use it. The Electronic Security Association found that nearly 90 percent of all convicted burglars claim they stay away from homes that are protected by a home security system. Homes without a home security system are 300 percent more likely to fall victim to burglary than those that do have a system installed.
If you don't have the protection, it may be time to consider installing a home security system. The Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice found that home owners can save up to 20 percent on their home insurance just by installing a monitored home security system. Not only are you adding a layer of protection to your home, but you could also save money. In many home owners' cases, the savings on the home insurance fees more than covered their home security system.
Turning the front room light on isn't enough.
Burglars have it figured out. That light you turned on before flying to Grandma's house isn't fooling them anymore. If you want to use the classic turn-on-the-lights-so-people-think-you-are-home trick, then you need to be smart about it.
Set timers on your lights so different ones will come on at different times throughout the day. You can also install a home automation system that allows you to control your lights and appliances remotely with wi-fi access.
It's also important to note that having a light on at night is not going to deter the day-time burglar. Most home burglaries take place during the day because that is when people are at work or off running their errands. You can't just depend on turning on the lights at night to keep burglars away, but it is a start.
Lock your doors and throw away the key (figuratively, of course).
You've heard it a million times, however there are still people who fail to lock the front door and double click on their car key fob. Every time you leave your home, even if it is just for a minute, you need to make sure the doors are locked. The ESA found that it only takes the typical burglar roughly 60 seconds to get in and get out with your possessions.
An estimated 30 percent of burglars enter a home or car through an unlocked door. Experienced burglars take time before breaking in, and they may know your schedule well enough to know when you are and are not home.
Locking the door isn't enough. You need to get rid of the spare key you hid under the welcome mat as well. Drop the key off at a trusted neighbor or friends house. It may be a little inconvenient for you, but that means it's really inconvenient for a burglar. It does you no good to lock up your home if have a spare key on your property when a person is trying to find the easiest access point.
Even if you are just running into your home or you have it parked in the garage, you need to make sure you lock your car. If you leave your car unlocked, you are just asking to be a victim of auto theft. You also need to make sure you never leave identifying items in your car (license, pictures, student ID cards) because then a burglar could target your home as well.
Don't Tempt Criminals
Burglars know you are doing your holiday shopping this time of year, so there is no need to incentivise them to rob your home or vehicle. When you are done shopping, take your bags and purse into your home immediately. Leaving your car full of presents is too easy of a target. Make sure you are also keeping your valuables out of sight when they are in your home as well. You don't want to place bags of recently purchased goods right in front of the large living room window for the world to see. Your kids aren't the only ones you need to hide the gifts from. Be sure to hide new presents in a safe place out of the sight of burglars.
Even though burglary crimes are up during the holiday months, you can rest assured that there are ways to protect your home and provide peace of mind. Utilizing these tactics will reduce the chances of you falling victim to burglary.