‘Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be wary of burglars, thieves, pickpockets, and other holiday grinches. Nothing can ruin the Christmas spirit faster than becoming the victim of a crime. There have been more break-ins recently so please heed these suggestions.
Protecting Your Home
Unfortunately burglars view the holiday season a little differently…for them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize your home for cash, credit cards, and gifts. The following are a few strategies that will help you enjoy the holidays without incident. Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house, even for a few minutes. Homes are broken into when people are just in the backyard or garage. Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for a potential criminal to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages or plan a later break-in based on their earlier observation.
Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail. If you go out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or television so the house appears to be occupied. Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted neighbor. Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows.
A holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured. Don’t post your family name on your mailbox or on you house. A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your house to confirm that you are out. UPS deliveries are often stolen. Try to be home for deliveries.
Don’t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, “You’ve reached the Wilson’s…we’re away for the Christmas holidays… please leave a message.” Bad guys love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and ransack your home. Tell your neighbors your travel plans. Bold robberies have taken place using moving vans to empty entire homes!
Shopping Safety Tips
Christmas is a time of year during which many of us will be busy shopping and running errands in order to be ready for the Holiday Celebration. We must not forget that criminals will also be out and about looking for easy targets to make a big score. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings. Shop before dark, if possible. Coordinate shopping trips with a friend.
Never park in an unlit lot or area, no matter how convenient it is. Lock your packages and gifts in your vehicle’s trunk. Keep you vehicle’s doors locked and windows closed. This is especially relevant for SUVs. Have your keys readily available in your hand before you go to your car. When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside. Check to see if you are being followed. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit card, or debit card when possible.
To discourage purse-snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep a wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser or coat pocket.
Beware of strangers approaching you or your home for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
After Christmas day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down or cut them up to conceal the items better.
Wishing you and your family a glorious Holiday celebration, surrounded by those you love. May 2017 bring you success, health and happiness.
Nancy has been licensed to sell real estate since 1991. This includes sales experience in residential, land and investment properties. Due to her vast experience and expertise in the handling of complicated real estate transaction, she as the chosen as the Official Real Estate Sponsor of the Pasadena Bar Association for 5 years.
Nancy approaches each home sale as a new work that will be given a glorious Premiere! The staging, set design, and presentation all result in her listings being the “buzz” all over town. Nancy harnesses the power of the Internet to give her listings a competitive edge. She sees the Web as the most valuable way to respond to the constantly changing real estate climate. Nancy has the experience, knowledge and flexibility to harness the power of the Web in real estate transactions to get her sellers’ properties the best exposure, worldwide.
Like most people in this field, Nancy had another career before entering real estate. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Music, she attended the Juilliard School. Nancy went to Europe for the summer to continue her vocal training and stayed for 12 years! She sang professionally as a lyric soprano soloist in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Nancy is fluent in German and has a very good ear for languages! Her years of living abroad have given her a deep understanding of Buyers and Sellers from varying cultures and traditions. This experience is a valuable tool in understanding client needs and translates into a superb skill in negotiating on behalf of her clients. The experience of living in Europe as well as recent trips to visit family in Asia, she has a deep understanding of varying architectural and decorating styles.