To reduce the risk of this, ensure you have a high-quality security system installed. Companies such as ADT and SimpliSafe offer DIY and fully-managed security systems, along with optional monitoring if required.
Installing a security system is a great first step, but there are numerous other things you can do to protect your property. In this article, we’ve outlined 10 of these.
1. Make it look like you’re still home
It’s a well-known fact that burglars are much more likely to target a property if it’s visibly empty. There’s a much slimmer chance of them getting caught if they can sneak in and out while you’re on holiday or otherwise occupied.
Because of this, we’d suggest keeping up the appearance that you’re still at home. Some of the best ways to do this include:
- Keeping lights and other appliances switched on
- Asking a friend or neighbor to collect your mail
- Parking a spare vehicle or friend’s vehicle in your driveway
- Having someone sweep leaves or shovel the snow regularly
In the modern world of smart homes, this has become even easier. With the right technology, you can set your lights and other devices to switch on and off at specified times. In many cases, you can even control and monitor them remotely from your mobile device.
2. Let your neighbors know that you’re heading away
If you’re on conversational terms with your neighbors, it’s seriously worth informing them of your plans. By letting others know when you’re going to be away and whether or not you expect visitors, you will receive an extra layer of security.
For example, they will be able to let you and/or the relevant authorities know if they notice suspicious activity such as someone snooping around your home.
And to further the point above, your neighbors can help you keep up the appearance that there’s someone home. You could ask them to park a vehicle in your drive if you don’t have a spare one to park. Or you might like to ask them to collect mail and newspapers, take care of your gardens (if you’re away for a significant length of time), or even just shovel the snow once or twice.
3. Ensure you lock up properly
This applies to all situations, including when you’re at home. Failing to lock all doors, windows, and other entrances provides an opening for burglars, enabling them to enter your property undetected.
There are 3 main things we’d suggest doing to reduce the risk of leaving an easy access point for criminals.
- Ensure you spend some time testing your locks to ensure they function correctly and can’t be easily forced without the key.
- Spend a few minutes at night and each time you leave the property walking around and checking that all doors and windows are secure.
- Make sure that your security system is connected to all openings so that you’re protected on the off chance that you do forget to lock something.
Once you develop the habit of checking over your home, keeping things locked up tightly shouldn’t be too difficult.
4. Use a high-quality security system
Installing a high-quality, monitored security system is often enough to reduce your chances of being burgled on its own. If you think about it, this is logical. What intelligent criminal is going to target a property that’s protected by 24/7 monitored security solutions?
When you’re installing a security system for the first time, it’s important to explore your options carefully. There are countless providers offering budget systems, but they aren’t all equal. Some don’t offer the same standard of monitoring as the high-end options, and some are just too expensive for what you get.
We recommend ADT and SimpliSafe as two solid options. ADT offers professional and DIY packages backed by 24/7 monitoring and remote mobile control. SimpliSafe’s services are similar, and its lack of lock-in contracts and 3-year equipment warranty are a real bonus.
5. Avoid advertising your holiday on social media
Although it may be tempting, advertising your holiday on social media can leave you open to problems. Professional thieves are very good at taking personal information and details from the web.
It’s also best to avoid posting holiday photos until you’re back from your trip. If you’re away with friends or family members, consider asking them to do the same. Or at the very least, remove any tags from your profile.
6. Keep your bushes and trees trimmed
Nothing makes things easier for criminals than an overgrown garden that blocks your house from view. This creates a natural screen for them to work behind, enabling them to take their time breaking into your home without being seen.
At the same time, overgrown gardens can reduce the effectiveness of your security system. Heavy shade and dark spots can block your cameras, enabling smart criminals to escape detection. Trees growing close to your home can provide access to second-floor windows or balconies that are often less secure.
If you do have a decent-sized garden that could create black spots, installing motion-controlled floodlights can help secure your property. By placing them strategically, you can illuminate your yard to create a major deterrent.
7. Make sure your sheds and garage are locked
You’d be surprised by how many people spend hours ensuring their home is completely secured while completely ignoring garages, sheds, and other small buildings. For some, this might be because they don’t contain valuable items or are too difficult to lock up. Others simply forget.
But this is a bad idea. For one, failing to secure external buildings can lead to their contents being stolen. If you don’t have anything valuable inside, this won’t really be an issue, but some tools and gardening equipment can be worth thousands of dollars.
Secondly, leaving buildings containing tools and ladders unsecured can provide an easy way for thieves to access your property. By using this equipment, they may be able to bypass your locks, particularly if you don’t have a strong security system in place.
8. Consider hiring a house sitter
Hiring a house sitter to take care of your place is a great way to keep your house from being empty and unattended while you’re away.
But it’s important to ensure the person you’re asking to look after your property is reliable and trustworthy, or you may simply be inviting a criminal into your home. If possible, try to use a friend or family member as a housesitter. Where this isn’t possible, we’d recommend hiring someone from a trustworthy house-sitting website.
9. Keep your valuables hidden
There’s a much greater chance of your home being broken into if you leave valuable items lying around in full view. Small valuables should be placed in a safe or another secure place to ensure they’re protected at all times. Larger items should be placed in closets or locked away out of sight. By reducing the potential rewards for burglars, you will be reducing your break-in risk.
10. Keep your insurance up to date
Even with the best security practices, there’s still a small chance that your home could be broken into over the Christmas period. To reduce the impact if this does happen, you need to ensure your home insurance is up to date and provides the appropriate coverage.
If you’re not sure of the exact terms and conditions of your policy, have a chat with your insurance provider. For example, some providers require you to notify them if you’re planning an extended vacation, or else your policy may be void.
The Christmas period provides an excuse to go on vacation, visit friends and family, and enjoy some time off from the rigors of day-to-day life. However, it’s also one of the worst times for theft, and you may leave yourself at risk of a break-in if you don’t follow the appropriate security measures.
In this article, we’ve outlined 10 great ways to keep your home safe over the Christmas break. We’d suggest implementing as many of these as are relevant, speaking with your security system provider to ensure your system is up to date and working properly, and taking any other precautions you can.
Doing so will let you enjoy your break—just like you deserve to.