Nothing can ruin the memories of a holiday trip faster than returning home to find you’ve been robbed.
As families leave for dinner at the relatives this season, criminals everywhere are taking notice and targeting vulnerable homes. A few smart moves before you pack the kids into the SUV can prevent prowlers from turning your happy holidays into a sad mess:
- DON'T ANNOUNCE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN YOU'RE LEAVING HOME. Wait until you get back from grandma's or the beach to upload those family photos.
- THE COPS CAN LOOK OUT FOR YOU. Contact your local police before you leave town. Many departments perform "vacation checks" at a homeowner's request. Officers on patrol will drive by your home and make sure no bad guys are rifling through your belongings.
- LOCK YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS. Seriously. Countless home and car burglaries could have been prevented if the owner had just taken a few moments to double-check the locks.
- SHUT THE GARAGE DOOR. Leaving home for a trip will distract you. So will your kids. Check any exterior doors and remember to shut the overhead door.
The national Neighborhood Watch's Home Security Booklet advises homeowners to think about the "three D's" for preventing home burglaries:
Deter — Investing in solid deadbolts and practicing smart security methods will eliminate easy scores by burglars.
Detect — Alarm systems are the most reliable way to make sure a potential intruder will be detected. You also can ask your neighbors to keep an eye out and to call police if they spot anything unusual.
Delay — Slowing down a criminal for four minutes is enough time to stop most intrusions, according to the Neighborhood Watch. You can't turn your home into a fortress, but you can make sure the doors and windows are strong and secure.
AND LOOK OUT FOR OTHERS IF YOU'RE STAYING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. It doesn’t hurt to be a good neighbor. Call 911 if you see anything strange and out-of-place while your neighbors are away. You could save someone the headache and heartache of a holiday burglary.