Greer PD: Remember to secure your home for the holidays

Published on Monday, December 22, 2014

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Greer PD: Remember to secure your home for the holidays

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Ready to pack up and visit family for the holidays? The Greer Police Department reminds homeowners to avoid making that trip a Christmas present for criminals.

"The excitement of the season and visiting family — or enjoying the holidays at a vacation spot — can make some overlook the risks of leaving their home unprotected," said Sgt. Chad Richardson of the Greer Police Department's community outreach division. "Securing your home through a few easy precautions deters potential burglars and helps keep your belongings safer while you’re on the road."

Sgt. Richardson offered the following tips for protecting homes during the holidays:

  • Consider extra security

A home security system is one of the best ways to send a thief looking for an easier payday. Exterior lights with motion sensors or that run on timers are also good investments.

  • Keep track of keys

The fake rock where you keep an extra house key may have seemed like a good purchase at the time, but criminals are very aware of the best hiding places for spare keys. Hint: under the doormat doesn't work either. Keep track of all keys to your home and make sure they're in safe hands. Many people are surprised to learn that nearly 50 percent of burglaries involve the use of a key.

  • Lock up

So nearly half of burglaries involve the use of a key. That leaves 50 percent in which criminals gain access to a home through break-ins or unlocked doors or windows. It may seem like an obvious tip, but we aren’t far removed from comfortable days when open windows were an attractive and economical alternative to heat or air conditioning. This is a good time to double-check those windows. Make sure all access doors are securely locked, preferably with deadbolt locks. Turning off your electric garage door is also an effective way to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.

  • Hold Your Mail

The United States Postal Service works through rain, sleet, snow, and even when you're away from your home for a few days. The USPS will hold mail for as few as three days or as long as a month when you complete a hold mail request. This free service may now be requested online at https://holdmail.usps.com.

  • Stop newspaper delivery

It's easy to take the morning newspaper for granted so it's also easy to forget to stop delivery of the paper when you leave town. A pile of uncollected newspapers in your driveway is a sure sign to criminals that no one is home. Either stop delivery or ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your newspaper during your absence. You can always keep up with news at home through websites and e-newspapers (and your neighbor may thank you for the extra coupons).

  • Consider a house sitter

If someone you trust will be home for the holidays and is willing to house sit, there's no better deterrent to a thief than having someone living in your home. The person can also take care of pets, plants, collect mail and newspapers, etc. while you are gone. Professional services are also available that care for indoor pets while owners are away, taking the stress out of boarding pets for that time.

  • The lived in look

An occupied home looks lived in. Lights go on and off, and cars come and go. When you're away, everything stops. To help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied, invest in timers that turn on interior lights or a radio for a few hours every evening. Ask a neighbor to take out your garbage and return the roll cart back after garbage pickup. Also, don't close your blinds when you leave on vacation if you usually keep them open. The more normal your home looks, the better.

  • Tighten loose lips

Your Facebook friends and Twitter followers don't necessarily need to know that you're heading over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house. Information travels quickly these days, so be cautious where and when you share your holiday plans. Whether online or in public, be aware of who may be monitoring your conversation.

Sgt. Richardson said the Greer Police Department's motto, policing is a partnership, is particularly important during the holidays. Any suspicious activity in the City of Greer may be reported to 848-2151.



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