10 Home Security and Safety Tips for the Holidays

Picture of a house in the snow

As you’re making your lists and checking them twice, remember, not everyone’s nice. So, whether you’re planning an extended road trip to visit family or are hosting the big celebration at your place, we’ll help you keep your home safe for the holidays. Our home safety tips help you focus on what’s important this holiday season: creating joyful, lasting memories.

According to the FBI’s Unified Crime Reporting Program and  CNN Money, the week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks for burglars. Knoxville deputy chief Gary Holliday was quoted in the CNN article, saying, “Criminals are already aware that homes are filled with loot this time of year—jewelry, televisions, smartphones, and computers. Sometimes homeowners advertise what they got for Christmas by putting out for trash collection the empty boxes their gifts came in. Criminals find out what you got for Christmas."

Don’t be that homeowner! We know the holidays are busy, so we’ll keep it simple, so you can stay secure.

NCA’s Holiday Home Security Checklist

1. Make Sure Your Doors and Windows are Secure

Taking the neighborhood association’s home decorating prize may come at a price! If you plan on transforming your home into a twinkling Christmas palace or a charming gingerbread house, make sure that your lights are powered by a well-maintained outdoor outlet. Overloaded extension cords may cause fire hazards and gaps caused by unwieldy cords may be all that a burglar needs to pry your windows or doors open.

2. Smart Package Delivery

Beware of front porch package delivery! Although we realize it’s certainly not the most convenient option, consider having your packages held at the local post office or UPS or FedEx shipping facility. The Huffington Post recently reported that 23 million American have packages stolen from their home before they can even wrap them.

3. Hide your Gifts from Prying Eyes

The temptation to showcase brightly wrapped (or recently unwrapped) treasures under your beautiful tree may be great, but there’s no need to turn your living room into a Macy’s Christmas display window. Don’t make it easy for the naughty to see exactly how nice you’ve been this year.

4. Dispose of Packaging Wisely

In these days of curbside recycling, it’s so convenient to leave your flat screen HDTV packaging out for weekly collection. Don’t advertise your material spoils to undesirables. This time of year, it pays to make a special trip to the recycling center to dispose of big-ticket packaging.

5. Brighten Things Up

Thieves and burglars love long December nights. If you plan on being away for the holidays, the experts at This Old House recommend installing a manual light timer or a web-based light switch so that your house looks lived-in, even if it isn’t. You may even consider installing motion-sensing spot lights around the exterior of your home.

6. Enlist Your Neighbors for an Informal Neighborhood Watch

If you plan on being out of town for a few days, be sure to check in with your neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Make sure they know how to reach you in case of an emergency. While you’re at is, sweeten the pot with a plate of homemade cookies. Good cheer and good security can go hand in hand!

7. Stop the Presses

Be sure to sign up for the United States Postal Service’s Hold Mail Service and to suspend delivery of The Tennessean or other local publications. Nothing says “nobody’s home” like a pile of unread newspapers on your front porch.

8. Alert Your Alarm Company

While you’ll want to be mindful of telling the world of social media that you’re not home for the holidays, it is a good idea to let your alarm service provider in on your holiday travel plans.

9. Be Mindful of Strangers

Sadly, criminals have been known to disguise themselves as couriers delivering holiday gifts. Look for well-marked vehicles and uniforms and, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for identification.

10. Be Generous, But Be Smart

The holidays are a time for giving and for gratitude. Show both by donating time, money, services or goods to those in need. Be wary, however, of door-to-door donation seekers. Not only may these people be scamming you, but they may also be scoping out your home for potential theft. Never give out money or personal information without first asking for identification and then confirming it with the organization the individual is representing.

We hope that these easy holiday home security tips help you enjoy all that the holidays have to offer. Celebrate, share, and be joyful!

Happy Holidays from NCA! We have you covered: register to win our Home Alone gift basket and a year’s worth of free monitoring today!