Preventing Holiday Theft

December 9, 2013

Residential theft and burglary increases during the holidays. Shipped purchases and gifts are left on doorsteps, but this is not the only easy target. Find out ways you can help prevent holiday theft in your home with these simple tips.

There are five ways you can prevent being the victim of theft and burglary during the holiday season.

1. Have your boxes shipped to a business location.
If your employer will allow it, use your company's address for the shipping address. Since there is usually someone available to receive your shipment, you don't have to worry about a box sitting unattended for hours.

2. Request a signature delivery.
Every shipping company will allow you to require a signature at delivery to ensure secure receipt of your package. If you aren't home, your delivery driver will leave a note notifying you of the next attempted delivery date or the location of where you can pick up your package.

3. Remove the shipping labels and packing slip from your package.
Typically, people will set their empty shipping boxes either in the garage, outside the door, or take it directly to the dump with the labeling and packing slip still attached. This can be especially appealing to a criminal because it shows enough information to encourage identity theft. Remember to remove all indications of who received the shipment, the contents of the shipment, and the payment method by which the shipment was purchased. Additionally, if you received a gift, it may contain someone else's information too.

4. Keep your Christmas tree away from windows.
This is a tough one for me. I usually prefer to have our tree near a window so it looks pretty from the outside of the house. This is a huge no-no in preventing holiday theft. It may look beautiful from the outside, however it also looks beautiful for a criminal who may be able to see the gifts under the tree. Keeping your tree away from windows may require a temporary furniture rearrangement, however it's worth the effort.

5. Clean up quickly and discreetly after the holidays.
When cleaning up your holiday trash, be prepared to remove it from your property as soon as possible. Seeing the box for your new 52" HD television sitting by the curb lets everyone know what's now mounted to the wall in your family room. It's a good idea to breakdown all of your boxes so the picture of the former contents isn't showing. Cleaning your home post-holiday should be completed quickly and discreetly to keep your family and home safe.

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