Thanksgiving Holiday Home Security Tips

By Pamela Singleton, Sonitrol Pacific Director of Communications
Posted November 25, 2008

Going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house this Thanksgiving? Before you and your family leave town, make certain your home isn’t vulnerable to sneaky Grinches who will take advantage of an empty house to steal Christmas. Review these ten tips for a more secure home over the holidays. Putting them to use will make your home a less attractive target to burglars.

1. Eliminate clues you’re away.
o Turn off your telephone ringer or turn the volume down.
o Don’t change your voice mail message to indicate you’re gone.
o If you have a traditional answering machine, remotely pick up your messages daily.
o Make arrangements with a friend or trusted neighbor to collect your mail and newspaper daily or temporarily stop delivery.
o Use automatic timers to turn on and off indoor lights and TVs at varying times of day.

2. Inspect doors and windows.
o You need solid frames, well fitting doors and windows, and strong, non-bumpable locks. If you aren’t sure how reliable yours are, talk to one of our security experts or a reputable locksmith for advice.
o Do not leave a key hidden outside your home. Instead, ask someone you trust to hold onto an emergency key for you.

3. Test outdoor lighting.
o Before leaving home, make certain all your outdoor lights work and change any burned out bulbs.
o Install motion activated outdoor security lighting and light up all the dark corners of your property.

4. Clean up the yard.
o Rake the leaves and complete late fall pruning; roll up the hose and put away any tools, ladders or mowers.
o Make certain landscaping allows for an unobstructed view of your doors and windows from the street.

5. Out of sight.
o Keep valuables and, as much as possible, computers, laptops, video game systems and other portable electronics hidden from view of outside windows.
o Hide gifts and completely breakdown and dispose of cardboard boxes to be discrete about new purchases.
o Close blinds and window coverings so as to not tempt anyone looking in the windows.

6. Lock ’em up.
o Put toys, bikes, motorcycles, cars and other possible targets of theft or vandalism in the garage.
o Many burglaries are acts of opportunity. Don’t let your home be someone else’s opportunity.

7. Guard the garage. Garages are a point of weakness for most homes year round.
o Make certain the door leading from your garage into your home has a strong, non-bumpable lock and USE IT.
o For an extra layer of security when you are out of town, unplug your automatic garage door opener. These devices are vulnerable to tampering and some can be opened by other people’s remotes.

8. Be neighborly. Police will tell you the best way to prevent crime is to have neighbors engaged with and concerned about each other.
o Get involved with your neighborhood association.
o Start or participate in a neighborhood watch program.
o Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway a few nights while you’re away and offer to do the same for them when they leave town.

9. Do a test run. Try breaking into your home or ask a friend to do it. Most people find they can squeeze in through a pet door, attic hatch or second story window that’s always slightly cracked with little effort. If you can break in, a burglar can too.

10. Get verified.
o Have an electronic security system installed with a monitoring center that verifies through either audio or video technology and use it.
o Let your monitoring center know when you will be away and how to reach you.

Holidays should be filled with joy from time spent with friends and family. Put these tips to use in order to reduce the curb appeal of your home to burglars and make home security one more thing to check off your holiday to do list. For more advice or tips for improving home security all throughout the year, contact us.