Home for the Holidays: Our Security Do’s and Don’ts
It’s beginning to look like Christmas with beautifully hung wreaths, garland, and cheery decor making their appearance for the holidays. But this celebratory season attracts more than the Christmas spirit – it is also one of the peak times of the year for criminal activity. As many of us remain home for the holidays, our commercial and residential security experts have compiled a few simple precautions that you can take to keep your Christmas merry and bright.
How to Protect Your Property This Season
While many property crimes have seen a nationwide decrease due to the ongoing pandemic, others have dramatically increased. Package theft, vehicle theft, and burglaries of vacant commercial properties are just a few of the illegal activities that are currently on the rise. So, while Santa is making his list and checking it twice, our Myrtle Beach security experts encourage you to do the same with your residential security and commercial security systems! Here is what to look out for as you are making your rounds:
#1 – DO Make Your Myrtle Beach Security System Visible
Curious if a security system can really deter a burglar from entering your home or business? Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte asked a group of convicted offenders in one and found that 60 percent of burglars will steer clear if there are visible signs of a residential or commercial security system. You can help deter potential thieves from entering your home by placing the stickers and signs from your Myrtle Beach security company around your home or business.
In addition to making your residential security system highly visible, you should incorporate motion sensors and outdoor security cameras around your property. Set up smart lighting schedules to keep your property well-lit inside and out, without keeping them on 24/7 as scouts will catch on to this. These devices will detect and capture motion near exterior windows, doors, and garages, discouraging unwanted guests from paying a visit.
Burglars typically avoid entering a home or business when it appears someone is at the property. Contrary to popular belief, however, the majority of home burglaries happen during the daytime hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when parents are at work and children at school. Having these security systems in place will ensure that your property is safe, even when you can’t be there. And don’t forget to test, test, test! It can’t be stressed enough how important this is, and it only takes a few minutes. Read our blog on performing at-home security checks and contact your local security company if you have any questions!
#2 – DON’T Invite Unwanted Visitors with Your Gift Displays
Your Christmas tree looks beautiful glistening in your front window, but unfortunately, so do the gifts underneath. A display of presents is essentially an invitation for the burglars passing by. Though it is tempting to show off your festive spirit, try to keep gifts in a less visible location away from windows and doors.
As you and your loved ones excitedly unwrap your awesome holiday gifts this year, remember to watch where your boxes end up. You don’t want the cardboard that once stored your new TV or laptop ending up on the curb. This is basically an advertisement for unwelcome passersby on the hunt for new goodies. Cutting down boxes and placing them in a closed recycling bin or a tied garbage bag will keep them out of sight, ensuring nobody will get to use your new tech except you.
You should also avoid leaving incoming gifts out for potential porch pirates. As online shopping continues to grow, especially this month, porches all over the country will be laden with alluring packages and goodies. Before you place your next order, contact Coggin Security about installing a Skybell high-definition video doorbell and Total Connect Wi-fi Outdoor Camera at your home, so that you can keep an eye on your incoming packages. Make sure to review our tips for preventing package theft and best practices for residential security in Myrtle Beach!
#3 – DO Lock-Up Around Your Property
Many of us leave the back door unlocked more often than we’d like to think about but keeping your entryways secure is always a good idea. An unlocked door or window is a burglar’s best friend. In fact, 34% of burglars twist the front doorknob and simply walk in, while another 6% try for any opening that isn’t locked. The same goes for any outdoor sheds, guesthouses, and pool houses on your property.
Installing a lock, be it with a hard-copy key or a digital passcode, is the best way to protect your home. Home automation technologies like the keyless deadbolts can lock, unlock, and monitor access from anywhere. Simply open the Total Connect App on your mobile or tablet device!
Another bad security habit is leaving cars unlocked (that means even if they are parked in your driveway). Oftentimes, spare keys, garage door openers, and wallets are left out in our cars. These items offer easy access to our valuable belongings and sensitive information. With auto burglaries on the rise, ensuring your car is locked and removing any ways to access your home that may be in the car, is just another necessary step to protect your property.
#4 – DON’T Leave Out a Spare Key
Over 20% of people lose their keys each year, so it’s no surprise that many home and business owners have a hidden spot to keep a spare on hand. Oftentimes, however, our version of “hiding” is a little bit too lax, and experienced criminals can easily identify these spots. If you hide your key in a common place like under your doormat or a rock in the garden, the holiday season is a good time to change it up (or get rid of it altogether). While you’re doing so, take an inventory of your spare keys. If one is missing, it is probably a good time to change your locks, too.
If you are looking to take your security up a notch, keyless smart locks like the Total Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock can help you take a more active role in protecting your property. Using the latest mobile-enabled technology, you can send secure keys to predetermined users and monitor any activity or motion around the property at the touch of a button. The residential and commercial security experts at Coggin Security can help you quickly replace your traditional locksets with our smart home technology just in time for the holidays!
#5 – DO Practice Online Safety Measures
It may be the season of gift-giving, but it’s certainly not one for handing out your private information! If you are planning to be away from home this holiday season, it’s best to keep that information off the internet. Advertising your plans makes you more likely to be a target of a burglary. Stick to telling just a few people, including a neighbor or two who can keep an eye on your home while you’re gone.
Make sure to also practice internet safety as you are shopping for gifts to keep any thieves from taking your address, bank account, or other personal information without your knowledge:
- Always use secure Wi-Fi with HTTPS before the URL.
- Avoid making any purchases over a public internet connection.
- Create logins that are easy to remember but difficult to guess.
- Take advantage of multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
- Buy only from trusted retailers and websites.
- Be leery of offers that seem too good to be true.
- Pay with established third-party service providers such as PayPal.
- Regularly check your financial accounts for fraudulent and suspicious spending activity
- Setup notifications that immediately notify you of a purchase.
‘Tis the season to keep our homes and businesses safe but protecting your valuables shouldn’t be a short-term plan. It’s time to start thinking beyond the holidays about your commercial and residential security needs. Investing in a dependable security system provides year-round protection for the things you care about most. Not to mention, 24/7 peace of mind. To give the gift that keeps on giving this year, contact the Coggin Security team to learn more about our residential and commercial security options for Myrtle Beach and surrounding communities. And from our family to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season!