The holiday season is here! Yes, it is mostly full of cheer, but the season also comes with higher risks of car and home burglary. The holiday season makes some people anxious. People want money and gifts for loved ones, so some will go to extreme measures to provide for their friends and family during the holiday season. This requires more diligent home and car protection measures.
How Do Burglars Operate?
According to the APD, burglaries in Austin result in the loss of 1.3 million dollars of stolen property. Most of these burglaries occur in homes and vehicles that are considered easy targets. Here is some important burglary information to better understand how they operate.
- Burglaries most often occur between 10am and 3pm, because during those hours most adults and children are at school or work.
- Burglars spent less than a minute actually breaking into a car or home, often because it is made easy for them through unlocked doors and poorly hidden keys.
- They often spend 8-12 minutes in a home, so they are running throughout the home, grabbing the most valuable and easy to move items.
- Burglars are most commonly teenage boys, and more often than not they are robbing homes that are only a few miles from their own home.
7 Ways to Protect Your Personal Belongings
Because burglars are often in a rush, they look for the easiest and quickest ways to rob a home. They often look for unlocked doors and poorly hidden keys, and most often do not break down doors and windows because that process is loud, time consuming, and attracts attention. According to national statistics, a burglary happens every 15 seconds, and this is all year around, not just during the holiday season. Here are some tips in deterring burglars from entering your home, and making it difficult or impossible for them to enter.
- Always make sure doors are locked. 50% of vehicle burglaries are done to unlocked cars, and the APD says that a third of home burglaries are unforced entries, where the home owner forgot to lock their door. Even if you believe you are in a safe neighborhood, it is very important to keep all doors and windows locked when you leave your home or vehicle.
- Is your spare key hidden in an easy-to-find place? If a door is locked, burglars will look under your mat, under that ceramic frog outside your door, and on all of your car tires. Although they are in a rush, they will look in those places that are somewhat predictable. Find a unique place to hide your spare key that you believe a burglar would never think to look.
- Never leave your keys in your vehicle. Even if you are running into the gas station for a second or stepping out to check something, it is bad to leave your vehicle unattended with your keys inside. Many cars are stolen this way.
- Are there valuable items visible in your window or displayed in your vehicle? It is time to invest in thicker blinds for your windows. Also, don’t leave your GPS displayed on your window, put it in your glove compartment when you leave your vehicle.
- Keep shrubs and plants around your house trimmed and maintained. These are places where burglars can easily hide. The area outside your house should remain clutter free in general, so that there are no places that could shield a burglar from sight.
- Make sure your alarm systems in your car and home are up to date and working perfectly. Don’t have a home alarm system? You should consider getting one installed to protect your belongings.
- Make sure all windows and sliding doors are secure when you leave your home. The APD burglary unit lists ways to make sure windows and doors are properly secure, and the type of handiwork that is needed to achieve the best results. Check their recommendations here.
4 Ways to Ensure Holiday Home Protection
Burglars also know that many families go out of town during the holiday season, so they are looking for signs that no one has been home for a long time. We’ve all seen the Home Alone movies, right? Instead of setting booby traps, here are some better tips to make your home and car appear that they are actively in use.
- Stop your mail and paper delivery: a full mail box and papers piling up at the door signal that no one has been home for some time.
- Purchase light timers: a constantly dark home will alert a burglar that no one is home. Although it is a nice perk of leaving town that your electric bill decreases, light timers will give off the appearance that people are home. Leaving the same light on for days or weeks is still slightly suspicious.
- Alert your neighbors: by telling your neighbors you will be out of town, they will automatically be suspicious if they see someone on your property, and can alert the authorities on your behalf.
- Keep your car in your garage or driveway so that it is on your property. The sight of a vehicle may deter a burglar from breaking into a home because they believe someone is there. If you normally leave your car at the airport on vacation, consider leaving it home and taking a taxi to the airport. This would also save you money on airport parking fees.
So please, make sure your homes and vehicles are secure and safe during the holidays. Enjoy your time off, everyone at McMinn wishes you a safe and happy holiday!