How to protect your home from burglars this holiday season

Winter Home with Holiday Lights

Leaving your home for a holiday trip can be stressful, with no one around to watch your most personal items for days on end.

And even the dumbest burglars, like the crooks from “Home Alone,” know many people will be out of town from now through New Year’s Day.

But there are ways to scare off those crooks, even if you are hundreds of miles away.

Start By Locking Everything

Sergeant Tim Schmidt-Goessling of the Amberley Village, Ohio, police department says before you head out to Grandma’s, “We recommend everybody do a walk around of their house, checking for open windows, unlocked doors.”

Goessling took us around one nearby home that looked perfectly locked up.

However, when he turned the knob on a back door, it opened.

“This is a perfect example,” he said, “we found one unlocked.”

He also spotted a second floor bathroom window cracked open, an invitation to any thief with a ladder in their pickup truck.

But even locked doors won’t necessarily keep thieves out.

Check Your Tech

Nick Wolny, senior editor at CNET, says this time of year it is essential to be on guard.

Crooks know that homes are filled with new gifts from laptops and gaming consoles to jewelry, and that it is often left right under the Christmas tree.

“Really dot your I’s and cross your T’s regarding home security, to make sure that you don’t come home to a disaster,” he said.

After you are sure your doors and windows are locked, check your tech.

That means ensuring that your security camera or video doorbell are fully charged and sending footage to your phone.

Wolny also suggests asking your neighbors to keep an eye on your home.

As most burglaries are at night, Wolny says it’s not a bad idea to put in another line of defense.

“Motion detecting lights, things like that, that can be a really great deterrent,” he said.

Shop around and you can find fairly affordable motion lights and doorbell cams.

Never Leave Valuables Out

Finally, just in case someone does break in, he says make sure it’s not worth their while.

That brand new PlayStation 5 still in a box? Tuck it away.

“Before you head out,” he said, “take some extra time to lock things up. If you have a safe, put those other valuables into that safe.”

So lock the house tight, make sure your tech is working, and hide things out of plain sight, and that way you don’t waste your money.

By John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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