Keep Criminals Away From Your Gifts this Christmas

December is, as they say, the most wonderful time of the year. Family! Eggnog! Milking that Amazon Prime subscription for every penny it’s worth! And while it’s theoretically a month for giving, that charity comes with a few price tags.

Afterall, gift-giving doesn’t come cheap, you know.

Here’s something to consider: having a trove of nicely wrapped presents tucked away under a tree looks nice, but it’s also a temptation for would-be crooks. Coupled with the increased amount of time that many spend away during the holidays, your home’s chances of being targeted with unwanted entry become much more likely.

In our selfless desire to keep you and your assets safe (‘tis the season), we’ve put together a brief list of things that you should and shouldn’t do to ensure that this final stretch of the year is a secure and uneventful one. Take a look!


Keep the night bright.

If you’ve strung lights, make sure that they regularly come on and shut off at regular times. Having them dark after the sun goes down or lit in the middle of the day could be a tell-tale signal to burglars that you’re gone, and falling out of a daily on/off routine will make it easy for strangers to keep track of your schedule. Set reminders if you tend to forget to flip the switch, or invest in some manual timers or a remote control for your smartphone to take care of it while you’re gone.

And if you don’t have many lights, consider getting some! Darkness will only encourage illicit activities.

Reinforce your doors and windows.

If you’re only relying on the basic locking systems that came built into your entryways, now’s the perfect time to upgrade. There are plenty of options — wireless alarms, deadbolts, keypads — that can be attached to your door jamb or frame, but it’s arguably easier and more effective to simply add a second layer of defense. Steel security screen doors and window guards are relatively straightforward to install, look great, and do an excellent job of keeping the more vulnerable glass and wood underneath safe.


Have gifts visible from the outside.

It may paint a pretty picture when looking in from the window, but you don’t want to openly display the expensive items you have.

Post too freely about your activities online.

Social media is a vast resource for criminals, who will use it to track the who, what, where, and when of possible targets. Don’t be too vocal about the gifts you’ve gotten or the vacations you’re going on: it will make it all the easier for burglars to figure out the best time to go after you.

Be indiscriminate about your trash.

Buying and exchanging presents means that a lot of receipts and packaging are being left in the trash. As with social media, crooks can rummage through these leavings to get a better idea of what you own. Worse, they can use the information they glean to steal your identity should you toss various paperwork (such as bills) away. Invest in a shredder to dispose of anything with sensitive information, and take the rest of your debris to a public waste bin and consider locking your outside trash containers behind a security gated enclosure as an extra barrier to criminal activity.

As it will in any situation, common sense and erring on the side of caution will go a long way in keeping you and your possessions safe. It’s not the jolliest topic to consider during the holiday festivities, but one that will almost certainly pay off. Stay safe, and enjoy another of those candy canes. You’ve earned it.