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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Houses are decorated with candles and lights. Fireplaces crackle and pop with the warm feeling of joy. Burglars wait for you to leave and then Grinch your Christmas. Wait? What was that last one?
While peace on Earth and goodwill to all should be the feeling of the season, there are a few people out there who just don’t think like the rest of us. This counter-culture minority are the twisted people who like to break in and steal your Christmas presents. Don’t believe me? Remember Home Alone? Home Alone 2: Lost in New York? (The one with Trump.) Home Alone 3 and 4? (Yes, there was a fourth installment.) But the real life thieves that would steal your stockings are nothing like the bumbling idiots of low budget Christmas movies. Here are 5 tips to keep your Christmas merry and bright… and secure.
Photo credit: IMDB
1) Flood Lights for the Yard
This is a popular thing to do at the holidays anyway. Go to the holiday section at Lowes and you’re sure to find an all weather flood light for your yard. (While you’re there buy a Minion inflatable for the yard. You know you want one.) Flood lights can add a touch of class to showcase your Christmas decorations while providing a level of security as well. A thief will more likely pass over a house that is well lit than one that is dark and shadowy. So with timers set for these flood lights, you can light up your home’s decor and keep it safe at the same time.
2) Stop Your Mail
If you know you’re going to be visiting grandma in Pennsylvania for a few days, you’ll need to stop a few things. First, you’ll need to go to the USPS website and stop your mail for the duration of your trip. Nothing screams, “I’m not home! Break in boys!” like a pile of mail by the door. So stopping it from being delivered is a great way to keep your travel a secret. Also if you still get a newspaper, call them up and have that stopped as well.
3) Don’t Post Photos of Your Holiday Travels
This one will be hard to do. Countless law enforcement agencies warn travelers not to post vacation pictures while abroad. Wait until you get home before you literally broadcast to the world that you were not home. While you trust your friends with you plans you never know who your friends are letting use their phones or computers. Trust me, it is worth the wait.
4) Use Timers to Light Up Your Empty Home
This one I will give Kevin McCallister credit for. In the original Home Alone, Kevin turns on all the lights in his house and plays music to ward off thieves. While I don’t suggest you blare music or put a Michael Jordan cut out on a train, simply having the lights turn on and off will suffice. I suggest the WeMo Switch Smart Plug.
This device plugs into your outlet and communicates with a smartphone app via your home’s wifi. You can set a schedule or turn the lights on at random. Plus if you have an Amazon Echo, it works with that for use all year long.
5) Be Discreet with your Trash
Wait, what? This is an old trick that thieves use to target homes that have gotten big ticket items. Bad guys drive around neighborhoods on the first trash day after Christmas and scout the discarded boxes at the curb. See a PS4 box with a 50’ TV box. Bingo! Someone’s house just made the top of the list. Game consoles and TVs can be pawned for cash and can be stolen easily. Don’t advertise what you have in your home. Instead take these boxes to the dump or discard them over a period of weeks. Below is a picture I took in the spring of a homeowner who let everyone know he had new gardening tools. Yep, these can be pawned quickly too.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season with your friends and families. Worrying about the security of your home should be the last thing on your mind. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to relax a little easier this Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! For more on home security and family protection, consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.