Home Safety Tips for the Holidays
Get An Alarm
"Ninety percent of people arrested for burglary said they avoid homes with alarm systems," Sgt. D.E. Westfall told the News & Sentinel in Parkersburg, W. Va. Ask your landlord, maybe he'll be game to install one. Remind him that he'll get a break on his homeowners insurance if his properties have security systems. Failing that, try a wireless alarm system, that way you can take it with you to your next apartment.
Don't Announce Your Trip
That means no Facebook, Twitter or voicemail messages announcing the fact. Instead be savvy and have your home phone transferred to your cell. Don't worry, you don't have to answer it.
Except to the Right People
If you'll be gone for more than a few days, call your local police and ask them to drive by while you're gone. According to Westfall, they honor those requests and keep an eye on properties for those who asked. Or if you live in a big city where cops are tied up with bigger issues, maybe there's a neighborhood watch you can clue in.
Lock Up Your Docs
Shut down and unplug your computers to prevent intruders from getting into your personal accounts. And make sure computers are protected with passwords. Also keep important paper documents in a lock box, which will protect you from robbery and fire.
Trick robbers into thinking someone's home by setting lights on more than one timer. If one light goes on in the same place each night, you still might not be fooling anyone watching the home. Better be safe with two or three timers. Just make sure you've got compact fluorescent light bulbs.