This article was previously published on December 17, 2017 and updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
The holidays are a time of fun and celebration, a time for some much-needed relaxation before the new year. Unfortunately, all the gift-buying and time spent away from home provides ample opportunities for petty criminals and thieves. Crimes, such as robbery and larceny, tend to spike during December, so it’s important to be on notice.
Don’t let these criminals ruin your holiday spirit. The holidays can be a delightful time, but also fraught with stress and troubles. ADS Security has tips on how to have a safe and jolly holiday!
Ensuring Safe Delivery of Packages
With the huge increase in online shopping over the last decade and Black Friday deals to entice customers, there is a massive number of packages that are delivered between the end of Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In fact, USPS averages over 20 million packages a day in December, and that doesn’t even include deliveries from large retailers, such as Amazon.
Package deliveries have become quite common, especially with the influx of online shopping. This is the one type of theft that thieves feel they can pull off with ease because the goods are often left unsupervised on the front porch with easy and quick access. Here’s what you can do to ensure a safe delivery for any packages that arrive:
• Have your packages delivered with signature confirmation, which requires your signature to complete the delivery. If you aren’t home often, have your packages sent to work instead.
• Request to have your online orders delivered after you arrive home from work. Most major delivery companies deliver packages well into the evenings, especially during the holidays.
• Enlist the help of a trusted friend or neighbor. Have them retrieve your delivered package.
• If you have kids, have them pick up the packages once they arrive.
• Place a security camera outside your front door, so you can monitor any packages that arrive and spot thieves that try to take them.
In-Person Shopping Safety Tips
Not everybody does their holiday shopping online. If you plan to shop in person, you should know the dangers, especially during the holidays. Thieves know that this is the time of year department stores are full of customers, and employees are typically spread thin when managing the influx. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:
• NEVER walk away from your purse while it is in your shopping cart. It can take a thief less than a second to steal it, even if you have it attached to the shopping cart (a sharp knife will quickly remedy that deterrent).
• Only carry the necessities when out shopping, i.e. driver’s license or ID, one credit card, a small amount of cash, and your cell phone.
• Be suspicious of anyone asking you to retrieve a product off of a top shelf, it could be a distraction tactic used to steal your personal belongings from your shopping cart.
• Be aware of your surroundings while shopping, especially when walking to and from your vehicle. Anyone or anything that looks suspicious could be a danger.
•When shopping in person, always put your packages in the trunk of your car (or out of plain sight) if you plan to do additional shopping.
Protecting Your Home During the Holidays
Our homes are typically the most vulnerable during the holidays. Burglars know this is the time homes are filled with gifts. Likewise, people are spending time away to be with friends and families. There are also a lot of additional fire hazards around the house, such as Christmas trees, excess lights, gift wrappings, etc.
• If you plan to cover your home with Christmas lights, consider synching them with a light automation system. This way you can save on electric costs and reduce the chances of shorting your system and causing electrical fires.
• When no one is home, close your blinds. This safeguard is especially important if you like to display gifts around the tree or have electronics out in plain sight, which can be visible through windows.
• Use caution and be sure not to overload electrical outlets or use faulty or improper extension cords that may be a fire hazard to your home.
• Don’t put your Christmas tree and presents near any fire hazards. These include fireplaces, furnaces, heaters, candles, wires, exposed outlets, etc.
One of the best ways to ensure your home remains protected during the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year is with a smart home security system. Video surveillance is a proven deterrent against burglars and thieves. Moreover, automated fire and carbon monoxide detectors can alert you of any smoke or fire outbreaks from anywhere and at any time, allowing you to contact emergency services even if you’re not home.
ADS Security wants you and your family to have a safe and happy holiday. Learn more about what a smart home security system can do for you by contacting us today.