While your mind may be on family, food or presents; for criminals, the holidays are an opportunity to cash in on homes full of expensive belongings.
“Home burglaries are generally higher during peak travel times,” according to Brett Schurter, Vice President of Insurance. “By going through this checklist and taking a few safety measures, many home burglaries could be prevented,” he added.
AAA suggests you add a few more things to your to-do list before leaving your house this holiday season:
Remember to close and lock all house and garage windows and doors. Slide locks are recommended for sliding glass doors
Leave blinds and curtains in their normal position so that your house doesn’t appear empty. If possible, move expensive electronic equipment such as TV’s or computers away from windows where they will be in plain sight
While it could be fun to post where you’re going on social media, don’t broadcast your trip regardless of how excited you are. Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail or have the Post Office hold it. Remember to cancel your newspaper subscription while you are away
Ask a friend to inspect your house regularly and ask them to turn the outdoor lights on at night or put your lights on a timer. Whoever is watching your house should have a key to your car in case it needs to be moved during an emergency. Also, let them know who may be visiting your home while you are away such as the yard maintenance workers
Keep your valuables locked up in a safe
Never leave spare keys hidden under doormats, in flowerpots or anywhere outside the house
Make sure your home owner policy coverage is up to date, by speaking with your agent, to ensure you have the proper amount of contents coverage, to protect your belongings. Ensure your premiums are paid and that your policy is currently in effect
Don’t add personal information on your luggage tags. A thief may see the address and assume that no one is home. Use luggage tag covers or a business address or simply use your phone number
If you’re driving to your holiday destination, remember to keep Christmas gifts out of sight of potential thieves. Or, purchase AAA Travel Gift Certificates which can be used for airline, cruise and tour bookings, which make a wonderful gift idea
“When you return from your trip and happen to see the front door open and you suspect an intruder broke in, step away from the house and call 911 immediately,” Schurter advised.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit organization with 83 local offices in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and New York, servicing 2.7 million members.