Janna Kelley OSU Extension Educator
The Ada News
The holiday season finds many people making plans to gather with family and friends to spend quality time together.
Unfortunately, this time of year also can bring out the Grinch in some people. Crime rates rise during the holiday season. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, nearly 400,000 burglaries take place in the United States between November and December. Fortunately there are some things you can do to protect your family and your home, even if you plan to travel.
Do not let your home be an easy target. Thieves are looking for homes that are easy to break in to. First on the line of defense is making sure all of the windows and doors are locked. Also, less-than-sturdy windows and door frames can make it easier to get in your home.
Visiting your local home improvement store and talk to the salesperson about the different items available to help reinforce your home and strengthen the area around dead bolt locks.
Another tip is do not advertise your gifts. Keep your gifts a secret, even after they have been opened. It is easy for thieves to know what is in the house by placing the gift packaging by the garbage cans.
If you get a new computer, camera, television, gaming system or other expensive gifts, take the empty boxes to the recycling center. Don’t just set them on the curb with the rest of your trash. This just advertises you have new, expensive gadgets in the house.
Another option, although it is a costly one, is an alarm system. Studies have shown an installed burglar alarm makes a home less attractive to intruders. Do not worry too much if an alarm system does not fit into the budget. There are plenty of other options to help keep your home and family safe.
If you have travel plans this season, it is important to keep your home looking as lived-in as possible. If possible, leave a vehicle in the driveway. Make sure to put a stop on your mail and newspaper delivery. Put your lamps on automatic timers. If you have snow while you are gone, arrange for a neighbor to shovel sidewalks or pull into the driveway to make it look as if someone is home.
You want your home to look exactly as it would if you were home. The more lived in it looks, the better deterrent to thieves. Taking a few extra steps can help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.