The holiday season is supposed to be about peace on Earth and brotherly love. Your thoughts should be on spending quality time with loved ones not on whether your home or car is a target for thieves. Unfortunately, if you believe some news outlets, security companies, and insurance agencies, robberies are rampant during the holidays. The good news? They aren’t.
Home robberies and car thefts do not spike during December.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, robbery rates don’t exhibit seasonal variations. This means that your chance of being burglarized is the same whether it is the summer or the winter.
The bad news? The BJS reported that 3.7 million burglaries occur each year in this country.
While being the victim of theft is never pleasant, it can be especially trying around the holidays when you’re already stressed out and may have more valuables than normal in your home (in the form of gifts). So… this year, whether you’re home for the holidays or hitting the road, here are some tips to help you deter home and car break-ins.
Protect Your Home
Don’t Make It Easy
The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that roughly 40% of the burglaries that occur in the U.S. each year are not forced entries. This means that the thief found a way to enter the home without actually “breaking” in.
This means you should:
- Ensure all doors are locked when you leave your home.
- Ensure all windows are closed and locked when you head out.
- Not hide your spare key or garage door opener in an obvious place. Instead, ask a trusted friend or family member to hold your spare for you.
Don’t Be a Show Off
Don’t advertise your valuables to strangers. This means you should:
- Break down boxes before putting them out for garbage pickup.
- Position valuables in such a way that they are not visible through windows from the street.
- Consider keeping blinds or curtains pulled when you aren’t at home.
- Not post pictures of your new fancy stuff on social media channels.
Don’t Be a Blabber Mouth
If you are headed out of town for the holidays, only tell those that need to know. This means you should:
- Not change your voicemail to say that you’re out of town.
- Not post statuses or photos that tell or show others you’re out of town on social media.
- Not tell casual acquaintances or strangers about your trip.
- Not discuss your trip in a place where strangers may overhear.
Don’t Get Lax with Maintenance
Would be thieves will often target homes that are not well lit or that offer good hiding places (such as overgrown shrubs). This means you should:
- Install exterior lighting that illuminates your yard.
- Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed back especially those that are close to windows.
- Keep tree limbs away from your room especially if you think they may provide second story access to your home.
- Inspect doors, window panes, and window screens for damage that may make it easier for thieves to gain access.
If you discover a damaged window or screen contact a professional to get it repaired.
In the unfortunate event that your home is broken into, you will want to have any broken glass repaired or replaced promptly to ensure further damage from people, animals, and elements. In addition, having the damage repaired will help return a sense of safety to your home. Jack’s Glass serves Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, with locations in Elsmere, Covington, Alexandria and Dry Ridge and can help you find the best window repair or replacement option for your situation.
Protect Your Car
As with your home, when you are not in your vehicle, you should ensure that all windows and doors are locked and that valuables are not visible. In addition, you can deter car break-ins this holiday season by following these tips.
Don’t Underestimate Thieves
A car break-in can happen in seconds. The following is what a former car thief had to say about the time it takes to burglarize a car:
“From the moment we would break a car window, we assumed that someone was on the phone with the police. We figured that police could be on the scene in 60 seconds. To play it safe, we gave ourselves 20 seconds. 20 seconds from the initial window break to us being gone.
Those 20 seconds weren’t the “one Mississippi…two Mississippi…” kind either. We counted fast because we didn’t want to get caught. Honestly, it could’ve been even 10 seconds.
What does that mean for you? It means that the “just a sec” that you “run in” to drop off your library book or pick up your carry-out dinner is all we needed. Actually, way more than we needed.
In 20 seconds, we’d have your stereo, CDs, and anything else that looked cool, and be gone.”
This means that when you aren’t around you should never leave your:
- Car unlocked.
- Car running.
- Windows down.
Don’t Provide Cover
Your car is much more likely to be burglarized if you park in an environment that provides thieves with easy access. This means you should:
- Park in a well lighted area.
- Park in an area where your car is visible to others.
For example, if you’re staying at a hotel this holiday season, park near the lobby doors so that the clerk can see your car from the front desk or park under a streetlight so your car will be lit up.
One final tip, to keep a bad situation from getting worse, don’t keep any identifying information in your vehicle. For example, don’t keep paperwork that has your home address on it in the car. If your car is burglarized, this information may be used to break-in to your home or possibly steal your identity.
If your car is broken into via a window, ensure your vehicle is secure and safe to drive by having the glass repaired or replaced as soon as possible. You can trust the experts at Jack’s Glass to fix the damage quickly, with a focus on high-quality repair and exceptional customer service. Find a location near you or call us at 859-342-JACKS (5225) to find out how we can help.
Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season!