The Most Dangerous Time of the Year? Safety Tips for the Holidays
The holidays are here, and while you’re admiring all of the beautiful presents wrapped and sitting under your tree, or getting excited about travel plans, it’s also the perfect time for burglars and muggers to steal some seasonal cheer. (Remember the movie Home Alone?) It’s enough to cast a Scrooge-like pall over what is traditionally “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Still don’t believe it? According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, nearly 400,000 home break-ins occur in the U.S. from November through December each year, so it is essential to secure your home as you bring in expensive items and gifts.
“Most homes are extremely vulnerable to burglaries during the December holidays,” said Bob Beach, chief of Longwood University’s police force in Farmville, Virginia.“Keeping your home safe from thieves during the holidays requires following just a few basic safety measures.”
The following travel and home security tips will help you put a wrench in Mr. Grinch’s plans and keep you and your belongings safe:
* Take trusted transportation. Avoid unmarked (or unknown) vehicles. Taxi lines at the airport and hotel are your best options.
* Ask for help. It’s always best to ask someone for directions rather than wait for someone to approach you. This way you are in control of the situation at all times.
* Keep your wallet and purse close. It’s best if women carry small purses and keep them close, while men should keep their wallets (or preferably, money clips) in their front pockets.
* Protect yourself and your home. There are a number of small key chain alarms or pepper sprays that will give you a sense of security. The SABRE personal alarm keychain, for instance, fastens to your keys and is an option for those planning to explore the city away from the comfort of the hotel. And for those times that you are away from home, consider installing SABRE’s wireless home security or standalone alarms. The standalone alarms are easy to install and can be purchased for as little as $20 to $50.
* Watch what you throw away. Potential intruders often rummage through trash to see what might be in your home. Boxes from new, expensive gifts, or receipts for big purchases alert criminals that these big-ticket items can be found inside.