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Taking Steps to Prevent Post-Holiday Crime

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About a month ago, we created a post sharing Home Security Tips for Holiday Shopping Season. In that post, we addressed securing your pre-holiday gift shipments and your home in the days leading up to Christmas. However, these security concerns do not go away as the calendar flips to the new year. After all, many families have brought new electronics and valuables into their homes with the coming of Christmas. Additionally, many families also travel over the holidays. This leaves their homes vulnerable, often while holiday mail and gift packages continue to arrive at their vacant homes! In this post, we share some steps to secure your home against post-holiday crime.

We will begin with a look at not allowing social media use to increase your chances of victimization. Holiday-related posts can act as an advertisement for criminals when seen by the wrong eyes. Then, we will look at making your home less attractive to passersby after the holidays. Burglars often scope out homes in the days following gift-giving, making these tips especially valuable. From there, we will look at travel safety measures in case you plan on traveling over the holidays. Finally, we will focus on security equipment that can help you during this time of year. Let’s begin by examining how smart social media use can lower your risk of post-holiday crime in your own home.

Exercise Social Media Restraint

Scroll through your social media feeds after the holidays and take note of how many posts you see showing off new gifts that friends have received. We recommend keeping this type of information off of social media platforms. Why the concern over this sharing of seasonal joy? Unfortunately, advertising the presence of valuable new technology in your home can make you a break-in target. Occasionally, “friends of friends” may see these posts and know enough about you to attempt a crime. Even if you have your privacy settings adjusted for relative secrecy, social media friends often include ex co-workers, former classmates, or acquaintances who have fallen out of touch. For this reason, we advise keeping gift “show-and-tell” off of social media. Now, let’s look at another way to keep your newly-acquired technology and valuables from attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Do Not Leave Boxes Outside for “Window-Shopping Criminals”

Christmas gift-giving often leaves behind an unwieldy pile of gift wrap and boxes. Of course, many families clean this up and leave everything outside for collection immediately. While we understand this instinct, we also encourage families to wait until collection day to display this holiday cheer on the curbside. After all, boxes that held televisions, tablets, or game consoles tell onlookers about new devices inside your home. For this reason, we urge homeowners to keep evidence of their gifts out of sight and out of mind from anyone who may walk by as long as possible. Unfortunately, walking through neighborhoods is not the only way potential thieves scout homes after the holidays. Let’s look at how to fight against a popular method potential thieves use to get a look inside your home.

A man with a paper knocking on a door.

Some burglars attempt to avoid suspicion by working in plain sight disguised as door-to-door salespeople or contractors.

Beware of Unexpected Guests After the Holidays

If you read our post on How to Spot (and Stop) Burglars in Disguise, you may remember that burglars will often approach their victims’ homes and knock on the door before attempting a break-in. This bold-sounding strategy accomplishes a couple goals. For one, it allows thieves to see if anyone is home before committing a crime. Burglars prefer breaking into empty houses. Therefore, a quick knock that can be explained away by posing as a politician or door-to-door salesman can greatly reduce the risk of getting caught. Additionally, knocking on your front door can provide criminals with a look inside your living room. Thieves that suspect the presence of a new television or other expensive appliances may try to verify their suspicions.

If you notice anyone going door-to-door in your neighborhood after the holidays, pay close attention. Feel free to ignore any visitors who you do not recognize and note their actions after their knocks go unanswered. If anything seems suspicious, we recommend that you alert your neighbors and the authorities.  Later on in this article, we will also discuss some security equipment that can help you thwart these advances. Now, let’s discuss how taking thoughtful precautions can beef up your security if you are arriving home after holiday traveling.

Exercise Proper Travel Safety

As we pointed out in the previous section, burglars prefer breaking into empty homes. Unfortunately, the holidays both add to the likelihood that families are traveling and leaving homes empty and the likelihood that this absence will be noticed. The arrival of holiday packages and cards can quickly create evidence of an empty home. Of course, your packages themselves could easily be stolen. Furthermore, the presence of this mail backup can increase your chance of experiencing a burglary.

We recommend taking a couple steps to combat this danger. Asking the post office to hold your mail can go a long way towards making your vacant home look less empty over the holiday season. Additionally, having a neighbor watch for packages can also help. For one, having your mail held does not stop UPS, Fed-Ex, and Amazon packages from arriving. Therefore, these deliveries can still lead to that “abandoned” house look and tempt crooks. Furthermore, having these packages grabbed quickly for you can also keep the gifts themselves safe from “porch pirates.” Finally, installing security products can help you track activity on your porch. In the next section, we’ll focus on security equipment that can help you stave off post-holiday crime. Let’s look at some of this security equipment now!

Set Up Security Measures for Additional Safety

A QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 on a table.

A home alarm system, such as this one by QOLSYS, can alert both you and the authorities to burglar or fire-related emergencies in your home.

As a security company, we recommend implementing a complete security plan for year-round safety and peace of mind. Since this time of year comes with increased risk of crime, it’s as good a time as any to look at your options. In this section, we will discuss a few of our most popular home security measures that we install. We will begin with a look at burglar alarm systems and related smart-home devices. From there, we will examine a couple different takes on home surveillance. Let’s begin with a look at how installing a burglar alarm can help you monitor your home against criminal activity.

Home Security Systems

In order to monitor your home for a potential break-in, our burglar alarm systems provide a great deal of security and peace of mind. These alarm systems can alert both you and the authorities to emergency events such as a break-in or fire. We work with homeowners to provide a security system that suits their desires based on their home’s layout and their security needs. Furthermore, we also offer different alarm panels that each provide unique features. This allows our customers to make an educated, hands-on decision when installing their alarm.

Additionally, modern alarm systems also allow you to connect smart home devices that can add security. For example, smart lights can make your empty home look occupied when put on a set schedule or even a randomized schedule. Smart locks allow for key-free lock control. Since homeowners can control these appliances remotely, they can also lock and unlock their doors for contractors or house sitters with a smartphone. This allows users to grant one-time access to their homes without providing a key or a code! For more information on how we use smart home products to add security and convenience to alarm customers, check out our 7 Important Security System Additions for Your Smart Home. Now, let’s look at another popular home security measure that can decrease your chances of experiencing post-holiday crime at your own home.

Home Surveillance Measures

When it comes to security, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Our options for residential security cameras offer exactly this security. We can install surveillance cameras that watch both the exterior and interior of your home. These cameras provide a live look-in to your home at any time. The ability to check in on your home can help you ensure that all is well with your yard, your vehicles, and your pets and loved ones. Furthermore, your security cameras will capture video of anything that does happen in or around your home. This allows you to review any events of interest and even save video to show the authorities if necessary.

An Alarm.com doorbell camera showing a smartphone user an image of a visitor

Installing an Alarm.com video camera and a smart lock allows you to both answer and unlock your door with your smartphone.

Additionally, installing video doorbell cameras can provide extra security to arguably the most important areas of your homes to secure — your doors and porch. Like any security camera, video doorbells allow you to watch both live and recorded video. As an added feature, video doorbells also allow you to both view and converse with visitors that ring your doorbell.

Furthermore, our preferred video doorbell camera, powered by Alarm.com, can provide additional security. Of course, these doorbells include all of the features listed above. Additionally, an Alarm.com video doorbell can work in tandem with your smart locks to allow you to easily provide access to visitors. As illustrated in the picture, you can answer your doorbell and quickly unlock your door all within the same screen on your Alarm.com app. This level of security and convenience make adding smart locks and doorbells a great defense against post-holiday crime.

Putting it All Together to Avoid Post-Holiday Crime

We hope this post has given you some ideas to secure your home against post-holiday crime. If you have any questions about the material in this post, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will gladly answer any questions you may have. Additionally, we will also be happy to offer a free site survey. While on site, we can address any concerns you may have. Furthermore, we can offer our own suggestions for additional security. Together, we can take measures to increase your post-holiday security that will pay dividends all throughout the year for years to come!