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Securing Your Home for the Holidays

November 29th, 2011 | by admin admin | in Security Advice |    0   comments

After putting out fires at the office all day, you pull into your driveway later than usual. The house is dark. The garage door was left open. Odd. You trudge up the back steps. Your heart sinks. The patio door has been smashed. You call 9-1-1.

Like most of us, thieves are looking for a little extra cash this time of year. So they put in some overtime, browsing your neighbourhood. An unlocked garage or unlit home invites them to visit. Unless you feel like playing Santa, it would be wise to look at your property from a burglar’s point of view.

After all, if you were a thief, wouldn’t you look for the easier targets? No security alarm. No lights inside or out, so obviously no one’s home. Plenty of trees and shrubs to screen you from nosy neighbours or passersby. A convenient ladder or tree that you can climb to reach that open second-floor window. Glass pane that you can smash and reach through to unlock the back door. A simple door lock with a keyhole in the knob, instead of a deadbolt that can’t be slipped with a card or tool. An unlocked garage with bikes and power tools inside. Purses, electronics, gifts and other valuables that you can see from unsecured windows.

True, solid wood or steel outside doors and shatter-resistant glass would go a long way to “hardening” your home as a target. However, just as important are your security habits. One of our first blog posts was on getting to know your neighbours. Keep an eye out for each other’s property and consider joining Block Watch. If you do notice anything suspicious in your neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. Tidying up your yard doesn’t hurt either – a well-tended neighbourhood attracts less crime.

When you’re setting up the lights or shovelling snow, be sure to lock your doors. Burglars can sneak in the front while you’re working out back.

If you live in an apartment or condo, you’ve probably read the signs a million times: don’t let a stranger into the building or garage with you. Don’t buzz any strangers or unexpected visitors in. And don’t use your full name on the directory listing.

Feel like escaping to a nice, safe place like Cuba instead? Set your lights on timers while you're gone, for varying intervals and in different rooms, to make your home look lived in. Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to clear mail, flyers, leaves and snow. Of course, never leave a key outside for the person watching your home. You may be excited about your trip, but don’t advertise on Facebook or Twitter that you’ll be gone. Likewise, set your voicemail to pick up calls quickly, without announcing that you’re on vacation.

Finally, after you open your gifts, be cautious about disposing packaging. A carelessly tossed box in the alley can tell a burglar you have a brand new big-screen TV, iPad or Wii console. You’re not ready to re-gift those goodies yet, are you?

For many more tips, visit the Vancouver Police Department’s home security page.

Author: Susanna Chu

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