‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? That’s how we like to feel from Halloween through New Year’s. But what is a festive season for us law-abiding citizens is equally festive for criminals. Those who specialize in property crimes absolutely love this time of year. You do not want to make their season any more joyous with poor home security.
A stunning 2013 report from CNN showed just how much property crimes increase during the holiday season. They cited statistics from California that showed an 18% jump in burglaries during December. Similar numbers were observed in large cities like Philadelphia and smaller towns like Coralville, Iowa.
The point is that the holiday season tends to create more opportunities for criminals to do what they do. In terms of home security, here are the top five holiday security risks that can make your home an inviting target:
1. Unprotected Package Delivery
We start with package delivery given its recent emergence within the retail shopping scene. With so many people now doing so much Christmas shopping online, the period from early November through the end of December is when package delivery companies make a good portion of their profits. It is also when porch pirates are the busiest.
Porch piracy is now an epidemic, according to Vivint Smart Home. Porch piracy has evolved into a sophisticated crime perpetrated by criminals who know how to scope out neighborhoods in search of easy targets. The best way to beat them is with video surveillance.
2. Predictable Interior Lighting
In the 1990 blockbuster film Home Alone, a pair of experienced burglars are so good at what they do that one of them is able to correctly predict when neighborhood lights will go on. This is not as far-fetched as it seems.
Predictable Interior lighting has long been an issue for homeowners preparing their homes for vacation. What’s worse, burglars recognize it. They know that predictable lighting patterns indicate vacancy; that homeowners have put their lights on static timers that go on and off at the same time every day.
Smart home automation solves that problem. With home automation technology, lights can be programmed to go on and off at different times. They can be programmed to go on and off progressively to create the effect of people moving around inside the home.
3. Cars That Don’t Move
The next holiday home security risk is found in cars that don’t move. Again, experienced burglars know enough to scope out neighborhoods before they strike. If they drive by a home and notice the cars in the driveway haven’t moved in several days, they know they have a vacant property.
Solving this problem doesn’t require any technological investment. You simply ask neighbors or friends to come over and move the cars every other day. It’s a pretty simple solution.
4. Trash and Recycling at the Curb
Believe it or not, criminals are rather adept at quickly browsing through the trash and recycling in search of information. Homeowners make their jobs easier by not taking steps to conceal their Christmas garbage. By not breaking down boxes and putting them packaging bags, they are advertising to burglars what was under the Christmas tree.
5. Social Media Carelessness
Finally, being careless on social media is a big security risk year-round. It is especially harmful during the holiday season inasmuch as social media is a very tempting platform on which to advertise travel plans, gifts, holiday parties, and so forth. If you think criminals don’t scan social media looking for targets, think again.
The best way to alleviate this risk is to be as private as possible on your social media accounts. Lock down what can be locked down, then zip your lip. The world doesn’t need to know that you are spending the holidays in Aruba. Your kid’s friends don’t need to learn what they got for Christmas from social media. They can wait to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
The holiday season is a festive time for families and friends. It is equally festive for burglars. Don’t make a burglar’s holiday more joyous by making it too easy to victimize you. Rather, make your home as secure as you can.