For many of us, New Year’s Eve is a time for travel and entertainment. After all, unless you’ve decided to throw a great party yourself, why would you want to just sit at home while the clock counts down to 2014? However, while you’re away having the time of your life, burglars could easily be throwing their own festivities while they loot your property. It makes sense; all of the expensive christmas gifts that you’ve recently received, in addition to your regular valuables, are just sitting unprotected for the better portion of the night. Besides, most of you neighbors will be too busy celebrating to notice strange activity or sounds coming from your home, and if they do, then they’ll probably just assume that there’s a party happening that’s gotten a little out of hand. But don’t worry, there are steps that you can take make sure that you don’t have to start off the new year filling out a police report.
1. Keep it to Yourself
As the holidays approach, many criminals will begin to keep an eye out of potential targets. If you have holiday plans, don’t be overly loud about them. Just because a bank teller, hairstylist, or cab driver asks you if you’ll be doing anything special for New Year’s, it doesn’t mean that you have to tell them about your plans. Anything said in public can easily be shared or overheard, and if a criminal knows that you’re going to be away from home, it makes the break-in much easier. Also, if you’ve gotten expensive gifts for christmas, make sure that they aren’t visible from the road or through windows, and take care not to leave the packaging on the curb where it could easily be noticed.
2. Throw a Fake Party
If you’re going to be away for the evening, do what you can to make it look as though you’re still at home. This may seem silly, but leaving on a few lights, some music, and a talk radio or television station playing in the background can give the casual observer the impression that the house is full of people who are having a good time. Just make sure that you close all of your blinds and curtains so that a prowler won’t be able to see just how empty your house really is from the street. For added effect, move your cars out from the garage and park them on the street, so it looks as though you have visitors (just make sure that you remove the garage-door openers from the cars, so that potential thieves can’t use them to get inside).
3. Keep the Yard in Order
Many people don’t associate the holiday season with yard work, but perhaps they should. By making sure that their yard is properly free from overgrown bushes, low-hanging branches, and anything else that a burglar could use for cover or to get into the house, you’ll create a less appealing target. Also, if you’ve had a recent snowfall, be quick to shovel your driveway and the walk; this will show the burglar that you were home recently, and may be home right now.
4. Lock up
Ok, this one is almost too obvious to mention, but the reality is that almost a third of all home invasions occur through an unlocked door or window. Before you head out to your party, take a few minute to double check every possible entrance, no matter how inaccessible. Burglars have been known to climb up onto roofs or squeeze through narrow basement windows if it means not having to deal with a lock. Lock up your home, and the chances of experiencing a break-in decrease significantly.
5. Install an Automated Security System
If you want to be absolutely sure that thieves won’t spoil your festivities, then you can’t do much better than fully automated home security systems. With motion detecting lights, electronic locks, glass break sensors, security cameras, and more, you’ll be able to ring in the new year free from worry. You can even use your mobile smart device to check up on things at home while you’re away, so that when the ball finally drops on 2013, you’ll know that your property is still safe and sound, and likely to remain that way for many years to come.