‘Tis the season, and you know what that means: An increased threat from ski mask-wearing grinches bent on ruining your holidays. No really, it’s a time for mirth and good cheer. But the fact is that December is thepeak month for house robberies. Here’s how to keep your family safe during the holidays.
The Deal with December
Now we don’t want to alarm anyone. The uptick in crime during December is regional, and on average the likelihood of being victimized is not very much greater than in other months. However, people do leave their homes during the holidays. Packages are left out on porches. Boxes of brand new merchandise are piled under Christmas trees in many homes. And hardly anyone is thinking about security. You can see why criminals might be more active under these circumstances. The good news is that it’s easy to do something about it.
Nine steps to keep your family safe during the holidays
- Make sure your home appears occupied. There’s a number of ways to do this - leave lights on, have music playing, etc. Inexpensive plug-in timers make this easy and can be purchased at most hardware stores.
- Don’t post vacation plans on social media (no matter how tempting). Also, if you post holiday pictures of your family from another location, make sure these posts can only be seen by your friends.
- Stop your newspaper or mail service - newspapers piling up in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
- Don’t put empty boxes from expensive gifts in the trash where anyone can see them - this is an advertisement to criminals that your home has a new flat screen TV or game system. Instead, break down the boxes and put them in plastic bags.
- As with the rest of the year, keep your doors locked and your valuables securely tucked away in a burglar safe, if possible.
So much for burglars. How about keeping your family safe from other hazards?
- Keep Christmas trees securely mounted on a firm base so children and pets cannot accidentally pull it over onto themselves.
- Don’t put wrapping paper in the fireplace. This can create noxious fumes, or even create a rapidly spreading fire. The same goes for scraps of your tree, as this can create an excessively large and hot flame. Feed your fire carefully with logs.
- Inspect all wires and cords to make sure nothing is frayed. Flying sparks can create a deadly fire if unchecked.
- Finally, if you or anyone else in your family receives a gun this holiday, make sure it issecurely locked away in a gun safe. Loose guns are a recipe for tragic accidents, so make sure you have enough storage space to keep your family safe.