Keep Safe During the Holidays

keep home secureThis may be a sort of random topic for a personal finance blog, but I thought it would be important to share this friendly reminder for the Holiday season.  For whatever reason, crime always goes up during this time of year – more needs, more opportunity, who knows?  I can speak to this first hand, because I was burglarized a few years ago, and it was around the first week of December when it happened.  That’s why I want to share some common sense tips that can help keep you safe!

 

Keep Your House Secure

The first step to staying safe this holiday season is to keep your house secure.  This means making sure that you’re actually locking all doors and windows.  You wouldn’t believe how many people go door to door during the day and just check to see if the doors or windows are open.  Don’t give burglars any easy ways into your house.

Also, if you won’t be home by nightfall, I recommend setting up some lights to go on with a timer, so it looks like you’re home.  You can also set a TV or radio on a timer, so that it sounds like someone is home as well.  Burglars won’t usually come near a house if they think someone is home.

Finally, understand that you can’t prevent everything, but you can prepare for the unexpected.  In my case, we had a drug addict kick in our front door (which was locked and dead-bolted).  There wasn’t much we could have done to prevent it.  All they took was jewelry, which wasn’t even worth that much.  But we were prepared and had a home inventory so we could tell the officers exactly what was stolen.

 

While At The Mall

safe at the mallMost of us will be spending quite a bit of time at the mall over the next few weeks.  This is a criminal’s paradise!  With huge crowds, and people who aren’t “regulars”, there are lots of opportunities to be a victim.

The first thing you should do at the mall is check your car when you park.  Ensure that all your valuables are out of sight (leave them home or put them in the trunk).  Also, make sure that you lock your doors.  Once again, there are people who roam the parking lots of malls just looking for cars left unlocked.

When you’re in the store, make sure that you keep your valuables with you.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a woman put her purse in the upper part of the shopping cart, and then leave the cart unattended while she was shopping several racks, or even aisles, away.  Too many people get their purses and phones stolen by doing this.  Just keep your valuables on you.

 

On Vacation

home alone burglarsFinally, if you’re going on vacation, make sure that you have someone stop by and check on your house.  Have you seen the movie Home Alone?  Well, that type of thing happens quite a bit.

Burglars are just looking for the Christmas travelers.  Don’t give yourself away by letting the newspaper and mail pile up.  Either have someone come by and check in everyday, or setup a stop mail and stop paper order for the times you’re gone.

Also, don’t mention that you’re going to be away on social media, like Facebook or Twitter.  Wait until you get back to post pictures of your vacation.  Burglars are now watching for status updates to let them know when people are out of town.  By saying “Can’t wait to fly to New York for 2 weeks” on your Facebook page, you’re basically telling the burglars it’s open season on your house.   Don’t believe it?  Crime Stoppers did a study on it and 4 out of 5 burglars are now using social media for this very reason.

How else can you stay safe this holiday season?

Get Rid Of Your Student Loans - Legally!
Sign up below and discover 3 ways to ditch your student loans.

A lot of places will tell you that you can't get out of your student loans. But guess what? There are ways to do it, and I give them away for free right here.

  • http://thisthatandthemba.com Christopher @ This that and the MBA

    Nice home alone picture.,… great movie.

    It is good to remind everyone to be vigilant as sometimes we let down our guard. They do it here at work sending out reminder emails to let us know that the holiday season is among us to hide our valuables.

    I have known a few people who had their houses broken into, i could only imagine coming home to seeing that…total violation…

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      It really is a total violation, and you just are on edge after that. We ended up moving because of it because just didn’t feel comfortable.

  • http://www.frugalrules.com John S @ Frugal Rules

    We use many of the same tips. I think a big one is not making it look like you’re gone. Timers are a great way to help with this or having a friend come over and put the trash put for you.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      Good call – we also leave the TV on a lot just to keep it safe.

  • http://prairieecothrifter.com Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    Great tips indeed. We are away a lot and have really found light timers to be useful. You can even buy ones that go on and off randomly to really make it look like someone is home. If it is winter I like to make sure our walk gets shoveled too. That way the house doesn’t look abandoned.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      I don’t live in a place where it snows, but that makes a lot of sense. No shoveling makes it look like you’re not home.

  • http://blog.planwise.com Ryan @ Planwise

    This is a good read and totally common sense.. which is lacking these days.

    My question about burglars using social media is how do they know where you live? and how are they finding you? If you’re house is being robbed by info they found on social media it appears you have some shady friends.

    …then again.. a lot of info can be found online. I personally use foursquare a lot and check in at home (but that is a private location and doesn’t disclose my actual address)

    In the end though, don’t be a moron and no lock your doors or leave valuable stuff in the open for people to see and give them the opportunity.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      With Facebook, unless you change your social media privacy settings, friends of friends of friends can see your posts. Plus, there may be that person who friends everyone and has like 1,000+ friends, so you never know who’s going to see your updates.

  • http://tightfistedmiser.com Andy Hough

    Those are some good tips. I’ve never been burglarized but I have had my car broken into and been mugged a couple of times. Those all could have been either avoided or the losses reduced if I would have been a little smarter.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      Wow, I think being mugged would be much more traumatic that getting broken into. That sounds terrible.

  • http://tiethemoneyknot.com Tie the Money Knot

    Good to be smart and keep aware of things over the holidays. It’s a time where we probably let our guard down, and that’s where the bad guys take advantage. Social media is a prime example…not sure why people feel the need to explain where they are at every moment, to the world in general. Some privacy and discretion is a very good idea, and posting personal travel details or whereabouts on Facebook isn’t within the realm of “good idea”!