It may be April, but this New England winter is far from over. The winter brings many additional challenges, not the least of which is that rates of burglary spike in the winter, by as much as 20% in some places. Why is this? Locksmiths in Boston offer several reasons. The longer nights provide more cover of darkness for criminals, and many people choose this season to take vacations to better climates. Plus, during the holiday season in early winter, homes are often filled with expensive gifts!
Don’t worry though, you don’t have to skip your vacation or put an alarm on your Christmas tree. The same principles of home security apply now as in warmer months. You just need to be extra conscientious in applying them.
Home maintenance to ensure security in all weather
Before the weather gets bad, you should prepare for the winter with a thorough examination of your home. Ask a residential locksmith to check your doors, locks and windows. Abrupt changes in temperature causes some materials, especially wood, to expand and contract, so you should make sure everything is tight and in good condition before the weather takes its toll. Furthermore, when the thermometer drops, the internal locking mechanism of many locks will malfunction, making it impossible to open them. Regular cleaning and maintenance will prevent this.
It’s important that all of your home is in good shape when winter comes, both to avoid opening any weak points that burglars can exploit, and to promote overall safety. Do all that maintenance that you’ve been putting off all summer: check the roofing, heater and pipes, and clean up your yard to get rid of any potential hiding places.
Light up your house to drive away burglars
The extra hours of darkness are a major factor in the higher crime rate in winter. Make it harder for burglars to do their dirty work anonymously by keeping the outside of your house well lit. You should have lights at all the entrances to your home, and around the first-floor windows if they’re in shadow.
Motion-sensor lights are a great choice for your doors. They’re better for safety, convenience and your electric bill. These lights will switch on automatically if they detect movement and turn off after a while if everything’s quiet. As well as lighting your way, they will alert you if anyone unexpected approaches the door – and it will alert the thief that they’re being watched!
It’s also a good idea to get an automatic timer for some of your indoor lights, especially if you usually get home late at night, or if you go away for a while. This will give the impression that someone is home.
Be discreet about your travel plans
Winter is a popular time to travel. However, when your house is empty, many burglars will take the opportunity to strike. If you can’t get a sleep-in housesitter, take some steps to maintain the appearance that someone is keeping an eye on the place.
Automatic light timers are a great place to start. You should also stop your mail, or ask your neighbors to pick up the mail and newspapers so they don’t pile up on your doorstep. Ask a friend or neighbor to shovel the driveway if it snows, so it won’t be obvious that no-one’s driving in and out.
It’s tempting to post all about your exciting travel plans on Facebook, but keep in mind that all sorts of people use social media, for all kinds of reasons. In fact, many burglars actually use Facebook to find new victims! Never post details of your trip before you go, especially the dates you’ll be away. This is practically advertising that your house is empty, and it’s probably no big effort for a canny criminal to find your address once they’ve chosen you as a target. Once you’re safely back home, post as many pictures and stories as you want!
Home security is probably not the top thing on your mind around the holidays, but unfortunately, burglars often choose the festive season to help themselves to a few extra gifts. If you buy or receive expensive items, don’t just leave the boxes out with the trash, as this shouts to anyone who passes by that you have cool stuff in your house. Instead, collapse the boxes and hide them inside the bin. Keep your curtains drawn when you’re not at home, so no-one can peek inside and see what valuables you have lying around. If you throw a party at your home, keep an eye out for uninvited guests!
Winter might be long and cold, but spring is just around the corner. Be warm and stay safe!