Friday, December 19, 2014

Security and Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is here! I love this time of year but it does add to our responsibility of security. This last week and week end before Christmas is one of the biggest shopping times of the year. Unfortunately criminals know this too. Be careful out there and here are some ways to be secure at this time of year.
Invest in a motion sensor floodlight or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home's exterior. This makes approaching your home too conspicuous for burglars.
A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.
Garbage collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times. If you can't take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your trash out just before the collection and do your best to break apart boxes so that they do not advertise your new contents of your home to thieves!
According to one recent study, social media is a commonly used tool for scouting potential targets. Social media savvy families have a tendency to publish their whereabouts during the holiday season, including any vacation plans. This lets burglars know when your house is going to be empty. Uploaded photos of pricey Christmas gifts can also be a problem as it basically allows burglars to go shopping just by viewing your Facebook profile.
Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window locks could increase the security of your home exponentially.
Make sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.
If you're going away at Christmas be sure to cancel any newspaper subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbor to park in the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Do not leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages and again make use of light timers.
Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment - make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools.
Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don't hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbor. Many houses these days have alarms, many though are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home.
These are only a few reminders. There is more that we have discussed here. Enjoy this time with family and friends but don’t ignore your security or disregard your situational awareness. If you are traveling ensure your vehicle is secure at motels. If you are flying be aware in airports.
Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderfully safe new year!
Semper Paratus