The FBI says there are about two million home burglaries a year, and about a quarter of those occur in November and December.
The majority of those are burglaries at single family homes.
So what can you do to prevent your home from becoming the scene of a holiday heist?
First and foremost remember to lock all doors and windows.
If you have an alarm system, arm it while you’re gone.
The rest is pretty common sense.
“Close your drapes so you’re not advertising what you have under the tree” said Lt. Cindy Kilgore. “I think it’s a good idea not to put everything under the tree especially the big items that might obviously be a big flat screen TV. What you do put under the tree, wrap so somebody looking into your window can see exactly what they can have access to. “
At night, keep lights on around your home’s entrance doors and windows.
Kilgore says burglars are really on their game around the holidays because of the potential payoff awaiting them inside your home.
“Not only before the holidays but sometimes after the holidays” said Kilgore. “A lot of people after Christmas set all their boxes out on the curb to advertise what they just received brand new. Tear up the boxes, burn them if you’re in a place where you can. Try to avoid advertising what you can.”
The holidays are a big travel time as well, even if your only going away for a day or two.
“Contact your local police and let them know you’re going to be out of town and they’ll put you on a home watch list and a patrol officer will keep an eye on your house” said Kilgore. “Make sure if you normally shovel your sidewalk, make sure you’ve got someone to do that while you’re gone, make sure somebody takes your mail and papers away so it’s not obvious that nobodies there. Turn lights on or off inside according to what your pattern would be. If you can use timers, great!”
And even though it’s the season of giving, don’t give some stranger at your door the benefit of the doubt.
“Solicitations tend to pick up during the holidays” said Kilgore. “Again a reminder, don’t open your door to strangers even if you’re feeling more generous during the holidays. Once a door is part way open, they could force their way in. It’s perfectly fine to talk to someone through the door. A good idea is to always have your storm door locked and talk to them through the door.”
And while we can’t stress enough the importance of making sure the outside of your home is well lit at night, the majority of residential burglaries occur during the day, between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M.