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‘Tis the Season to Secure Your Home from Burglars and Porch Pirates

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It's the holiday season, which means it's prime time for burglaries and package theft. In fact, a CNN study found that burglaries jump the week of Christmas, but even the everyday burglary stats are not jolly.

According to the FBI

  • There were 1.2 million burglaries in 2018.
  • A burglary happens every 25.7 seconds.
  • Approximately 66 percent of all burglaries happened at residential properties.
  • The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,416, with an overall property loss of $3.4 billion.

Pew Research found only 13% of reported burglaries are solved by the police, which means if you lose something – it's most likely gone for good.

So keep your holiday cheer this year by learning what the best deterrents for potential burglars are and how to prevent your packages from being stolen below! 

Invest in a home security system 

Get another level of protection.

An alarm system is a real deterrent for holiday package thieves. Alarm.org found 90% of convicted burglars said they would avoid homes with alarm systems, and homes that have a security system are 300% less likely to be burglarized.

A home security system also provides peace of mind by letting you:

  • Monitor your home remotely and relax while you're away.
  • Protect your home while you're at work, considering that most home robberies occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Secure less frequently-visited entry points, like a basement window or the garage door.
Security systems help secure your vulnerable points of entry.

Despite these alarming facts, 83% of U.S. households still do not have a security system. If you're one of them, now's the time to gift your home a security system. Just remember to activate it when leaving your home.

Not ready for a full-blown alarm system yet?

Start with smart home tech 

Upgrade your home.

Smart home tech now allows you to be an elf on your own shelf. Install a few security cameras outside, a video doorbell, motion lights, smart locks, etc. Some of these devices will let you see who is at your door, even when you're not home, and they can also record suspicious activity, like someone stealing packages off your front porch.

You'll also see if your dogwalker is hosting a party at your place. (True story!)

Keep your home on its usual schedule 

Leave your curtains and blinds as you normally do.

It may seem a bit counter-productive since burglars can learn your schedule, but you want to make sure a burglar doesn't notice you're not home. Use timers to turn on and off your lights, TV, and other appliances to make it look like you're home even when you're not.

Smart lights and smart plugs can help by giving you the power to switch on and off your lights from your phone. 

Trust a neighbor 

Give your neighbor a key to your house and the alarm code in case of an emergency. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and collect newspapers and any flyers by your door.

This is important as burglars sometimes mark homes by placing a flyer in the mailbox or your screen door handle. If they see the flyer hasn't been moved, potential burglars know you're not home. 

Remove any spare keys 

Where do you keep your spare key?

You don't still keep a spare key under the flowerpot, do you? How about a rock? Or even the mat? All the usual places people keep keys, a burglar knows where to search. 

Instead, keep your friends close and your key at that trusted neighbor's house. Or better yet, install a smart lock with a keypad, so you don't even need the key anymore.

Get that doggy in the window 

Dogs actually dissuade burglars.

If you're wondering, "Do burglars really avoid houses with dogs?" the answer is – yes! However, they only avoid homes with bigger breeds that can act as guard dogs. Burglars are not afraid of your teacup yorkie.

Use your delivery options 

Use all your delivery options.

Getting a lot of packages this year? Prevent package theft by utilizing the options your delivery service present. Simply log in to the service's website, search by tracking numbers, and click delivery options. You can ask the delivery drivers to drop the packages at an unusual locale, like a side door or back porch, or even have your packages delivered on the day of your choosing.

Home for the holidays quick safety tips 

Wait until Christmas Day to put out the presents.

Try these simple tips to keep your home safe from burglars, specifically during the holidays.

  • As tempting as it might be to put presents under the tree, keep gifts worth stealing out of sight until Christmas Day.
  • Even if you're stepping out for a few minutes to look at holiday lights, keep your porch light and TV on.
  • Anytime you leave your home, lock your doors and windows.
  • Don't run lights or cords through open windows or doors since leaving these open, even a crack, can give burglars an entrance.
  • Break down boxes for recycling rather than putting the boxes for your new devices on the street. (That would tell potential burglars what you got for Christmas.)
  • Don't answer the door for someone you don't know. Opening your door allows people to look inside your home and see the lay of the land. Instead, rely upon contactless delivery and only open your door to people you know.
  • Skip the "obligatory" holiday social media post. Posting while at a family member's house can show you're not home, and posting presents can show potential thieves what they can steal. 

Upload and update your home inventory 

Make your home inventory digital.

Unfortunately, things happen, and burglaries occur over the holiday season. Make sure you have your home inventory up to date – with a digital copy uploaded to the vipHomeLink home management app – so in the event of a break-in, you have any stolen items' details. 

You should also update your home inventory with the presents you receive. Any big items, like TVs or computers, should have a picture and receipt in the inventory. Learn more about building your home inventory in 354,400 Reasons to Have a Home Inventory & How to Create One.

Wish your insurance agent a happy new year 

Connect with your agent at least once a year.

While theft is covered in homeowners insurance policies, some items, such as jewelry, may have limits. So you'll definitely want to ask if you need additional coverage for the presents Santa brought this year, just in case you need to file a claim later.

Stay safe this holiday season and all year round! 

Safeguard your home.

vipHomeLink can help! Our home management app sends you personalized recommendations for home maintenance and tailored recommendations for home improvement. Our expert-backed vipTIPs give you the home knowledge you need to keep your home safe, including holiday decorating tips. Plus, our new weather alerts help ready your home for Mother Nature's wrath. 

Know what to do and when to do it with vipHomeLink! Download the app today from Google Play or the App Store.

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