The time is upon us where many of us are going to be away from our homes celebrating the holidays. Whether you are away visiting friends or family, taking in a holiday concert, or attending a holiday party or two, you may find yourself busier than usual this time of the year. Follow these safety tips to help you keep your home safe as you are out enjoying the season:
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your home or apartment, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes. Unlocked doors and windows makes it easier for thieves to get in and out undetected. Do not forget to have your garage door closed at all times as well, and have the transition door from the garage to your home locked when you are not home.
- Do not openly display items like your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window of your home where it can be seen from the street. Thieves may be tempted to target your home if they can easily see presents under the Christmas tree for them to take for themselves.
- If you are going away for the holidays, do not make it obvious you are not home. Suspend services like your newspaper and mail so they do not pile up, or have a trusted friend or neighbor collect them for you. Avoid having an outgoing telephone message that states you are away, especially if your home is listed in a public telephone directory.
- Purchase inexpensive light timers to simulate activity if you are away from home. Use these light timers to turn on and off lights and electronics throughout the night to make it appear that someone is home. Consider having a radio on timer, using a station like NPR that is talk-based.
- If you are using candles or Menorahs for inside decoration, make sure they are extinguished before you leave the house or turn in for the night. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it is well watered and fed to prevent it from drying out.
- After the holidays are over, break down your empty boxes to fit in your recycling cans. The empty boxes you set on the street for trash collection give thieves a heads up as to which houses were on Santa's "nice list" this year! If the don't all fit in your recycling can at once, consider throwing out the boxes a few at a time.
If you are a victim of a crime this holiday season, contact the Sheriff's non-emergency dispatch center 24/7 at (858) 565-5200.