Monthly Archives: November 2011

Fending off Thieves this Holiday Season

According to the FBI, about 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. during the months of November and December each year.  Items that thieves traditionally look for are things that can be easily sold, such as tools, bicycles, cameras, and expensive items such as furs and jewelry.

Fox News Traveler spoke with security expert and CEO of Armored Concepts Alan Young about how to protect your home and yourself, especially during the holidays.

1.  Don’t make your home a target:

Make sure you and your kids don’t post anywhere online, either on message boards or social media sites, when or where you are going on vacation. Also, don’t post photos until you get home. You may think your friends on Facebook are really your friends, but friends of friends might be able to see your profile. Young says many burglaries are actually committed by people that know someone you know.

2.  Make your home less attractive for burglars:

Increase outdoor lighting and put your lights on a timer so the home will not appear to be empty while you’re on vacation. Trim the trees and shrubs around the exterior.

3.  Secure the exterior openings of your home:

Upgrade your locks to grade one locks, which have a stronger bolt. Add locks to your windows and sliding glass doors if they don’t already have them.

4.  Be aware of your surroundings when shopping and traveling:

Secure all your possessions, not just those in your home.  If you’re visiting a city that is new to you, ask the hotel where you should and shouldn’t walk before venturing out. Keep your wallet and money in your front pockets. If using a purse, hold it close to your body at all times.

Thanksgiving Time is Prime Time for Burglars

Criminals are not only interested in what’s on the shelves at retail outlets, but what’s left in the back seat of your vehicle when shopping, and perhaps more importantly, what’s left behind at your home when you are away shopping and/or traveling.

AAA projects 42.5 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving, and the would-be thieves are taking note.  The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27.  So this is the time to be extra cautious about your home security.

In Houston, Texas police indicate that burglary and theft continue to be a problem in the community.

“Over the past few months, with the economy still hard and some people still not working, we have seen a significant increase in shoplifting and burglary,” Chief Jim McNiell told the Houston Herald.

“We’re seeing a lot of vehicles being entered and a lot of homes being burglarized, and I can’t emphasize enough to people to safeguard their homes and their vehicles.  Don’t leave wallets and purses in plain view in your vehicle, and make sure to lock your doors. Also make sure you lock the doors when you leave home and leave a light on at night,” said McNiell.

Meanwhile, in Oakdale, California police are also urging residents to utilize some safety measures.  Lt. Lester Jenkins tells the Oakdale Leader that burglars look for easy targets.  They often head for the bedroom looking for easy items to grab and stuff in their pockets.  They pull drawers, dump out jewelry boxes and rifle through closets.  Preventing access to your valuables is the first step.

“Keep the area by the front door very visible from the street,” Jenkins advised. “And the side door to the garage is vulnerable. Replace the hollow-core door with a sturdier door so it’s not as easy to kick in,” said Jenkins.

Also, often people put a spare set of keys in an easily accessible and visible spot, but Jenkins warns this is a bad idea.

“If they find the keys they’re mobilized instead of on foot,” he said.

Keep in mind, that Jenkins says ultimately the most effective deterrents to criminals casing your home is the installation of a home security system or a dog big enough to sound frightening!

“The key is to make them think twice before entering your home,” Jenkins said.  “They don’t want to mess with a house that isn’t easy to get in and get out.”

What is a Sneak Thief?

Often during the summer months and during the fall season, homeowners will tend to leave their windows open enabling brisk air to enter their home.  But is opening and leaving your windows open a good idea?  The short of the answer is simply no.  Though having a window open may save you a few bucks on your AC bill, risking the safety of both you and your family is certainly not worth it, especially at night and especially when you can become victim to a so-called sneak thief – that is a burglar who sneaks into houses through open doors and windows.

You may also ask yourself – what about if I live on the second or third floor of an apartment complex?  Is it safe then?  Again, the answer is simply no.  Even though you think a burglar would not climb up to the second floor, reality is he can and will.  Some burglars have even been known to carry around portable ladders, which they can throw up to a second floor balcony and easily climb up on.

The reality is many people do not think things through and leave themselves open for crime.  The idea here is not to be paranoid, but rather, to be prepared.  Part of preparation is thinking out all scenarios, which could create an open invitation to thieves.