Holiday Home Security Tips Thieves Hate

FBI crime stats prove that it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year—for thieves! According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), the number of burglaries rises significantly around the holidays each year. For thieves, the holiday season represents the best time to cash in and steal anything easily and quickly sold like small electronics, laptops, designer clothes, jewelry, and other valuables. Thieves also know that cash and credit cards are also close at hand during the holiday shopping season and very often in full view.

Nobody likes to think they may be vulnerable to crime, and far fewer realize they may be doing things that could invite it to come their way. And that is exactly what thieves count on. While most people are busy preparing for a memorable time with loved ones, thieves are watching and making a list and checking it twice.

With a few simple home security tips however, you can throw the thieves a serious curve ball and make sure all of your holiday memories are happy ones.

Thieves: Ruin Their Day with Home Security Systems and Practices

Most burglaries can be prevented simply by implementing a few home security basics. Before the thieves spoil your holidays, consider these valuable tips for protecting your home, property and family.

  • Secure your home and protect family with a home security system. There are a wide range of home security systems and products to fit every budget and every need. From door and window home alarm systems, to systems that can control lighting, shades, and air conditioning systems remotely, all provide a strong layer of protection, making your home an unappealing target.
  • Keep gifts and valuables out of view. Avoid putting your gifts beneath the tree too early. The pile of beautifully wrapped gifts can attract thieves when able to be seen through windows or doors.
  • Use outside electrical outlets to plug in Christmas lights. Burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and some unknowingly provide that opportunity without thinking twice. To a thief, Christmas lights may indicate an easy place to breach the home since you cannot close a window properly with an extension cord through it.
  • Always look home, even if you’re not. Simple things like having neighbors pick up newspapers and mail, keeping the grass trimmed, having the lights on timers, and having someone move a car in the driveway can deter crime.
  • Never advertise your plans or post travel updates on social media. Even without intending to, we often reveal enough for thieves to figure out we are going to be gone long enough for them to strike. It may be fun to tell stories of your travels or post about that great out-of-town restaurant, but one post that automatically posts your location can ruin your holiday.
  • Make an effort to conceal the items purchased and received for Christmas. We tell a lot with our trash. Empty boxes can tell thieves exactly what new items are in the home and even branded bags can indicate the price points of the purchases. Break down or cut up boxes and store bags to throw away after the season. Also, avoid posting candid holiday pictures on the internet showing gifts like popular electronics.

Home security is a serious concern, especially during the holiday season. If you are considering protecting your NJ home with a home alarm system, or have any questions about the options in home security Call Complete Security Systems at (732) 780-6787 or toll free at (800)452-3773.

Be on the Lookout for these Distraction Burglars

This may not necessarily apply to New Jersey alarm systems, but it is certainly applicable to your home security and personal safety. As the weather gets colder and we near the holiday season, distraction burglaries are going to start rising again. Criminals know that the holidays are the time to prey on the generous natures of others, and they know that people are incredibly distractible while shopping, getting their homes decorated and conducting other holiday season activities. In fact, it’s safe to say that the distraction burglary season starts as early as Halloween.

Here are some things to look out for from October through January:

  • Older trick-or-treaters who peek in your house, or distract you by talking too long
  • Someone claiming their car is broken down, but parked “around the corner” or somewhere else where you can’t see it
  • People offering to do odd jobs that you have never seen in the neighborhood before
  • In public, someone who asks you lots of questions or tells a long-winded story
  • Someone who asks an unusual favor in public, like accompanying them somewhere

These are people who may be trying to distract you and pull you away from your belongings long enough to steal from you. If you are at home, they want to gain access to your house and everything in it; if you are in public, they want you to break away from your vehicle or shopping bags so they can grab what they want and go. They often work in groups, so it is common for one person to distract while the other one steals. These are things you need to be on the lookout for.

Of course, the goal here is not to become an untrusting person – just an aware one. You may not like the idea of being skeptical, but everyone can get on board with being smart. In this day and age, that’s just a necessary personal security strategy we want all our New Jersey alarm systems customers to embrace.

What Do Burglars Want, Anyway?

New Jersey alarm system customers: Do you know what burglars really want in your home? If not, it’s time to find out. We did some research, and we found that combined data from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI reveal that the top items burglars want to steal include:

  • Electronics, including tablets, video game consoles, iPods and smartphones
  • Jewelry, which can be pawned for quick cash or melted down if it contains gold
  • Firearms, which may be sold or traded unless the criminal wants to keep them
  • Laptops, which can be sold quickly on Craigslist or at outdoor swap meets
  • Medications, which addicted burglars may use unless they can sell them

And then, there’s cash. If a burglar can get his hands on any cash you have in the home, that eliminates the need to steal items for selling on the black market in the first place. If you have a large cash reserve in your home, you may consider putting it in the bank instead. That really is the safest place for it to be.

All things considered, everyone has things in their home that burglars want to steal. You can store your valuable property in a safe, which is especially effective if it is fireproof and secured to your floor. However, an even more effective way to keep burglars from stealing your property is to keep your security system armed when you leave the house.

You may be surprised how many security system owners still become victims of burglary, simply because they forgot to arm their system before leaving home. If you are our New Jersey alarm system customer, please don’t let this happen to you! Arm your system every time you leave the house, so you can be certain an intruder will not be successful at breaking in.

Don’t forget about the national night out!

New Jersey home security customers: Did you go to the National Night Out last year? Here’s your chance to go again, because the National Night Out is coming up again on Tuesday, August 5. Held every year on the first Tuesday in August, the Night Out is a nationwide effort held by local police departments, fire departments and other community organizations. Members of the public are invited to come out and enjoy free food, activities and more in the company of the officers.

But what the National Night Out is really about is promoting safety and security, and that’s why the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand that night to issue Youth ID cards to kids. This is a valuable tool that can be a lifeline when a child goes missing; it is designed for parents to hand to law enforcement so they have the child’s accurate photo, name, age and date of birth to distribute to media. More than 1,000 Youth ID cards were issued during the Monmouth County Fair, and six different cities within the county will be issuing them at National Night Out events on Tuesday.

All that’s needed to get a Youth ID card is the parents’ permission; they simply fill out a form that asks for the child’s information, and the child’s photo is taken. It’s easy, and it can be very effective if something ever happens. There are many National Night Out events taking place in Montgomery County; one of them is being held by the Freehold Borough Police Department, from 5-9 p.m. in the Monmouth County Hall of Records Annex parking lot. There will be inflatable rides for kids, a police car, a fire truck and other first responder vehicles – and it’s all free! If you attend the event, tell us about it on our New Jersey home security Facebook page.