As the holiday season approaches, many people travel, leaving their homes unoccupied and potentially vulnerable to burglaries. Criminals are adept at spotting empty homes, and understanding their tactics can help you safeguard your property.
Matthew Lake, home security expert from Guardian Safe And Vault, outlines four ways criminals might know you’re not in over the holiday season and how to prevent the risks.
Unchanged Lighting Patterns
Constant lighting patterns are a giveaway. If lights are always on or always off, it signals that no one is home to change them.
Use smart home technology or timers to create varied lighting schedules. This mimics an occupied home, making it less obvious that you’re away.
Overflowing Mail and Packages
An accumulation of mail, newspapers, or uncollected packages outside a house indicates that the residents might be away for an extended period.
Request a hold on mail and newspaper deliveries through your local post office during your absence. For packages, either schedule deliveries when you are home or use secure package delivery services. Alternatively, ask a neighbour to regularly collect these items.
If valuables are easily visible from the outside, it can tempt burglars, especially if there are no signs of occupancy.
Before leaving, ensure that valuable items are not visible from windows. Use curtains or blinds to obscure the view into your home. Consider putting all valuables, including car keys, into a home safe.
Uncut Grass or Unshoveled Snow
An overgrown lawn or unshoveled driveway can be a clear sign that a home is unoccupied. This is particularly noticeable when neighbouring properties are well-maintained.
Arrange for a lawn service or a trusted neighbour to mow your lawn or shovel snow in your absence. This helps maintain the appearance that the home is being lived in.
“While it’s disheartening, the reality is that some criminals exploit the festive season for personal gain. However, with the right precautions in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a target and ensure the safety of your home and belongings,” Matthew says.
Do you have tips on protecting your home during the holidays? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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