The holidays are magical times. The sight of a large man carrying a sack of gifts through your living room can elicit a gasp of wonder from a child. But what if the large man with the sack isn’t leaving gifts – but rather trying to leave with them? Bah humbug!
The reality is the holidays are as magical for thieves as they are for kids. Burglars love the holidays because hard-working families have done all the shopping for them. They just need to find the right opportunity to swing by and pick it up.
Fortunately, home security technology has made great leaps over the past decade; advanced technologies -- everything from wireless HD video cameras to touchscreen controllers that can control security, lights, locks and record video right on the display -- are being increasingly integrated into affordable intrusion systems. Aside from the high-tech capabilities, their peace-of-mind factor has also improved with smartphone apps that place your home’s security literally in the palm of your hand, no matter where you are.
But advanced security technologies alone can’t stop your home from being targeted in the first place. Burglars will use every trick – old and new – to stake out targets.
Here's a list of simple things you should do this holiday season to safeguard your home:
- Be careful using automated email vacation responses. It can signal an opportunity for a possible burglar fishing for targets.
- Likewise, don't post your whereabouts on social media sites. It's tempting to humble-brag about your fabulous family trip to Hawaii, but wait until you get back. Otherwise, you are advertising to the world your home is empty.
- Strangers at the door, dressed as couriers or collecting for charity, aren't always what they seem. Always ask for identification and keep your door closed if at all possible.
- Keep house lights on and put the radio on, too, when you aren't home. But remember to pull the blinds or you'll simply be advertising your home's contents to every passerby. Some home security systems, including the Honeywell Tuxedo and LYNX systems, allow homeowners to “set scenes” – that is, turn certain lights on and off at specified times to make it appear as though someone is there.
- Rely on the kindness of neighbors. They'll pick up newspapers, mail and flyers – and maybe even give a quick sweep of your front porch to remove any telltale signs of an absentee owner. Security technologies have come a long way, but neighbors who look out for each other is by far the best defense against becoming a dismal statistic in this season's crime reports.
For more information on security at home, go to http://www.security.honeywell.com/.