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December 11, 2019

Holiday Security – Tips for Homeowners

Another holiday season has begun, and we’re right in the middle of one of the most active criminal periods of the calendar year. Even the most exclusive communities can experience an uptick in local neighborhood crime during this time of “goodwill to men”. At Ernest Homes, we want protect our residents from harm and keep everyone as safe as we can during the holidays. The tips we’re sharing today can help keep your holiday merry and bright!

Package Theft – It Can Happen to Anyone

Unattended packages left on doorsteps, “surprise” gifts left in mailboxes and unlocked vehicles full of shopping bags can be irresistible temptations for opportunistic thieves known as "porch pirates". Install security devices such as a Ring Doorbell to help deter theft.

Have packages delivered to a friend or trusted neighbor when you know you won’t be home to accept delivery. You can also track packages by using delivery apps offered by major carriers, such as FedEx or UPS, as well as aggregate sites such as trackpackagequick.com that allow you to check deliveries from more than one carrier on the same site. You can schedule running errands, shopping or other away from home tasks if you know when your package will be arriving. Empty boxes should be broken down and placed in recycling bins or covered trash cans to escape the attention of potential burglars.

Keep Your Car Secure

Remove branded shopping bags, purses, backpacks, and valuables from your vehicle every time you leave it unattended. Remember to always lock your vehicle, even if it’s parked in your own driveway. Don’t keep your car’s registration or other important documents with your address on them in the glove box. Keep insurance cards and your registration information in your purse or wallet instead. If you have a garage door opener, take it with you every time you park your car away from home. Keep it in your purse, briefcase or in a safe place such as a locked office drawer when you leave the car, so determined thieves who may steal your car are unable to enter your home through your garage. Make sure doors between your garage and your home are locked at all times as well.

Away for the Holidays?

If you’ll be gone for more than a day or two, set timers on your lights, set the alarm if you have one, and let a trusted neighbor or family member know how long you’ll be gone. Try to forge an alliance with at least one trusty friend or neighbor who wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on your home while you’re away, as long as you return the favor for them when it’s their turn. Make sure to leave them a list of important contact numbers and a spare key for an emergency (such as a burst pipe or natural disaster). It isn’t a bad idea to ask your neighbor to park in your driveway once in a while during the time you’re away, so observers will think someone is in residence. 

It’s crucial to keep travel plans offline. You’re eager to share your holiday photos and stories, but it’s much smarter to wait until you’re safely back at home to post them on social media sites such as Facebook. Don’t let extended networks of shared contacts know you’ll be gone; this simple activity gives would-be thieves the perfect opportunity to ruin your vacation.

If you have a home security system, use it! Don’t forget to set your alarm before you leave for your trip. Do not, under any circumstances, leave spare keys in a location outside the house. Thieves know all the special spots to look; “hiding” places such as flower pots, a key rock or under the doormat are obvious places to find keys.

As we mentioned earlier, lock and secure garage doors if your garage is attached. If your garage is detached, and your vehicle is with you, you should still secure it while you’re gone. 

Safety precautions can discourage random opportunistic crime, but no cautionary measure is absolutely foolproof. However, the tips we’ve provided here can help our homeowners reduce their chances for an unpleasant discovery at home. While package theft and home invasions have become more and more common, they don’t have to ruin a happy holiday season!

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