During 2014, there was nearly 15,000 home thefts during the holidays and travels months of November, December, and January. Burglars know during December and January is the prime time to stock up on stolen goods. They focus on individuals and families that leave their homes and cars unattended and unlocked.
Even with homeowners insurance, a claim will not alleviate the victim’s violation of privacy concerns or restore their confidence of being safe and secure. It is crucial to secure your home during the holiday season as theft levels increase.
Here are eleven steps to take to ensure your items and home remain safe this holiday:
- Watch for packages. 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year. If deliveries are expected at your residence, make sure you will be there to get them inside as quickly as possible. If you or someone in your household will not be home, ask a neighbor or friend to pick-up the package from your doorstep.
- Secure all doors and windows. Most thieves will not enter through the front door, they look for unlocked windows or back doors. Making sure that all your windows and doors are locked, and your alarm system is on while away is one of the most crucial steps to take to ensure a thief cannot get into your home.
- Light up your house. When leaving your home, make sure that your outdoor and indoor lights are on. A thief is less likely to enter a home if it looks like it is occupied. Setting your decorations on an automatic timer could also fool a thief into thinking someone is home.
- Stop mail delivery when away. If traveling for the holidays, ask the post office to hold your mail so thieves cannot see your mail accumulating. Otherwise, ask a friend to pick up your mail and newspaper to give potential intruders the illusion that you are home.
- Hide evidence of high-value items. One precautionary step to take is to carefully dispose of boxes that show that you have a high-value item inside your home. Keeping these items out of view from a window is also a safe strategy.
- Never put shopping bags inside your car. It is common for thieves to drive or walk through parking lots checking for unlocked doors, open windows and shopping bags in visible view. Don’t be an easy target for theft, put your purchases in the trunk of your car or return home to unload what you have.
- Protect your cash. Avoid carrying around large amounts of cash. Many purses are stolen from shopping carts while customers are browsing around stores. Make sure the purse is zipped or closed so your wallet cannot be easily retrieved and try carrying one or more debit or credits cards in another place such as in your phone case or in your pocket. By doing so, you have a form of payment to finish your shopping.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When parking your vehicle, take note of the surrounding area and people. Watch for suspicious activity or for anyone who may be following you through the parking lot. Installing a panic button on your vehicle or phone could protect you in emergency situations.
- Try shopping online. Stick with retailers known for their customer service, just in case one of your orders fails to arrive or disappear.
- Track your packages. Most retailers supply you with a tracking number for your packages, so you will know if a package has gone missing. Track your packages to ensure you will be home when it arrives; avoiding the theft of your packages and holiday items.
- Purchase peace of mind. While you may take every step to ensure the safety of your home and personal property, you are still at risk of being a victim of theft. By investing in homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, and auto insurance, you can guarantee yourself peace of mind if personal theft during the holiday season occurs.
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to theft, stay protected this holiday season by calling NorthEast Insurance Services at (732) 972-1771 ext. 1109.