WHILE Christmas may be the season of giving, it is an unfortunate fact that for some, it is considered the “season of taking.” According to statistics from the US, Australia, the UK, and our own Philippine National Police, property crimes, in particular burglaries, increase by 10 to 40 percent during the months of December and January, with most occurring the week after Christmas.
To keep your home and Christmas goodies safe from harm this season, here are ten tips that can help:
Lock your doors and windows. This is one of the simplest safety tips, and one of the easiest to forget. Lock your doors every time everyone leaves the house, even if it’s just to visit the neighbors next door.
Make sure your doors and windows are in good repair. A lock does not do much good if worn, old hinges or a brittle frame allows a door or window to be removed with just a little force.
Leave the lights on. When leaving the house at night, switch on one or two lights and even the radio to give the impression that someone is at home.
Be discreet with your trash. Large amounts of discarded wrapping paper, packaging from gifts like electronics and appliances, and shopping bags or boxes from expensive stores are a tip-off to thieves that there are valuable things inside. Keep your trash hidden inside trash bags or a sturdy bin where passersby can’t inspect it.
Don’t hide spare keys outside. Most burglars are aware of the common hiding places for spare keys, like the lintel above the front door or under a potted plant. If you must leave a spare key behind, better to leave it with a trusted neighbor, the security guard, or a family member.
Plug outdoor lights into an outdoor socket. If you have Christmas lights outside your house, plug them into an outdoor socket. An electrical cord passing through a slightly-opened window is as good as a sign saying, “This Way In” to most burglars.
Don’t leave tools or ladders outside. These are practically helping burglars to break into your home. Keep them locked away inside when not in use.
Mute the phone. If you have a landline telephone, turn off the ringer when you are not at home. A ringing telephone inside the house is a clue to burglars that no one is home.
Install a peephole in your front door. Although home invasions are fortunately rare, being able to see who’s visiting without opening the front door is a prudent safety measure.
Security system on a budget. Because burglars only focus on targets that offer easy access, a sign that says, “Beware of dog” or “Protected by alarm” is almost as good as having the real thing, without the expense.
Remember, the safer your home and belongings are, the happier your holidays will be.