It’s easy to get swept up in all of the decorations, shopping, parties, and fun coming up with the holiday season, and thieves and burglars know this. The holiday season presents many opportunities for criminals to have a joyous time at your expense.
Because burglary and theft is primarily a crime of ease and opportunity, when it comes to securing your home, your best defense is to make your home just a bit more difficult to break into than your neighbor’s.
While that’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, it’s the unfortunate reality. Most burglars appear to look for homes that are easy targets and require very little preplanning. Before breaking in, burglars may case your home for less than 24 hours, gauging your daily routine.
And if you live in a “safe neighborhood” where everyone tends to leave their doors unlocked or houses less secure, your home may not even be the only home broken into within 24 hours. Roughly 10 percent of burglars hit multiple targets on the same day.
The following Home Security Checklist was provided by Mark Mayer from ADT Security. You can contact Mark directly at (732) 841-1972 or [email protected]
Use this guide to check your home for safety measure. If you answer ‘no’ to any questions, they indicate areas where you could take action to improve your home’s security. These are just some of the steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that you or your home is targeted.
- All doors are locked at night and every time you leave the house–even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Doors are solid hardwood or metal-clad.
- Doors feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use.
- If there are glass panels in or near our doors, they are reinforced in some way so that they cannot be shattered.
- All entryways have a working, keyed entry lock and sturdy deadbolt lock installed into the frame of the door.
- Spare keys are kept with a trusted neighbor, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.
Garage and Sliding Door Security
- The door leading from the attached garage to the house is solid wood or metal-clad and protected with a quality keyed door lock and deadbolt.
- The overhead garage door has a lock so that we do not rely solely on the automatic door opener to provide security.
- Garage doors are all locked when leaving the house.
- The sliding glass door has a strong, working key locks.
- A dowel or a pin to secure a glass door has been installed to prevent the door from being shoved aside or lifted off the track.
- The sliding door is locked every night and each time we leave the house.
- Every window in the house has a working key lock or is securely pinned.
- Windows are always locked, even when they are opened a few inches for ventilation.
- Shrubs and bushes are trimmed so there is no place for someone to hide.
- There are no dark areas around the house, garage, or yard at night that would hide prowlers.
- Every outside door has a bright, working light to illuminate visitors.
- Floodlights are use appropriately to ensure effective illumination.
- Outdoor lights are on in the evening–whether someone is at home or not or a photocell or motion-sensitive lighting system has been installed.
- The house number is clearly displayed so police and other emergency vehicles can find the house quickly.
Security When Away From Home
- At least two light timers have been set to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence, when we are away from home for an extended time period.
- The motion detector or other alarm system (if you have one) has been activated when we leave home.
- Mail and newspaper deliveries have been stopped or arrangements for a neighbor/friend to pick them up have been mad when you go away from home for a period of time.
- A neighbor has been asked to tend the yard and watch your home when we away.
Outdoor Valuables and Personal Property
- Gate latches, garage doors, and shed doors are all locked with high-security, laminated padlocks.
- Gate latches, garage doors, and shed doors are locked after every use.
- Grills, lawn mowers, and other valuables are stored in a locked garage or shed, or if left out in the open, are hidden from view with a tarp and securely locked to a stationery point.
- Every bicycle is secured with a U-bar lock or quality padlock and chain.
- Bikes are always locked, even if we leave them for just a minute.
- Firearms are stored unloaded and locked in storage boxes and secured with trigger guard locks.
- Valuable items, such as television, stereos, and computers have been inscribed with identifying number approved by local police.
- Your home inventory is up-to-date and includes pictures. A complete copy is kept somewhere out of the house.
Do not post the following on social media sites:
- Where you are going
- When you are leaving
- When you will be back
- Photos or videos of you on vacation
- This includes teenagers or young children posting/sharing live stories on other platforms like SnapChat, Instagram, or TikTok
Hide gifts and packages
Whatever holiday you celebrate, you’ll want to keep gifts out of sight of both children and would-be thieves. Position your displays and gifts away from large open windows. Thieves and ‘porch pirates’ love to strike when there are Amazon Prime deliveries or other packages left unguarded on the front porch.
Some ways to prevent theft of packages:
- Install security cameras or a smart doorbell such as Nest Cam
- Use Amazon Lockers or rent a UPS mailbox
- Have packages delivered to a family member, friend, or neighbor that you know will be home
- Have packages delivered to your place of work if your company allows
Review your homeowners’ policy.
Lastly, consult your homeowners’ insurance policy to make sure you have the protection you need before you travel or leave the home. Knowing that you have the right coverage will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your holiday season.
If you have any questions, contact The Ross Maghan Agency at (732) 566-0003 for answers.