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CONVERGE | Entertainment

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

December 17, 2019

From preventing package theft to tree fires, here are some tips to keep your home and family safe this holiday season.

Whether you're planning a winter escape or will be at home for the holidays, safety is important - especially during the holidays. Holiday crimes are all about an increase in opportunity, whether there are more homes left vacant or more packages on doorsteps. From foiling porch pirates to decorating safely, here are five easy tips to keep your home – and loved ones – safe for the holidays. 

1. Notify A Neighbor

According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, burglary victims suffered about $3.4 billion in property losses in 2018, with an average loss of $2,800. If you're heading out of town for the holidays, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you're away and alert you of any suspicious activity. Ask your neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail (or have them held), shovel your walk, and bring in your trash cans. Also, consider notifying your local police department if you'll be away for an extended trip.

2. Get Smart 

One way to make it look like you're at home is to install smart home technologies like programmable indoor lights that can be operated remotely, motion sensors and doorbell cameras that can send a front door view to your mobile device and send alerts when there is activity.  Cox Homelife's suite of smart home and security products, for example, can all be controlled through a mobile app, whether you're away or at home.

3. Outwit Porch Pirates 

Beyond motion sensors and doorbell cameras, consider alternate ways to receive packages during the holidays. Where available, package lockers allow you to pick up deliveries at convenient times. Alternatively, you can have packages delivered to your workplace or held for pickup by the U.S. Postal Service. You can also give delivery people special instructions for where to leave packages. 

4. Don't Advertise Your Vacation

While social media seems ubiquitous today, there is still some information that shouldn't be shared online, safety experts say. Would-be thieves search for easy pickings by monitoring both physical homes and social media channels to discover when properties will be vacant. If you're traveling for the holidays, refrain from tipping off thieves: Never post where you are going or when you will be gone.

5. Prevent Home Fires

For those celebrating at home, holiday decorations and candles create an increased risk of fire during the winter months, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Christmas and Christmas Eve are the top two days for home candle fires, sparking nearly 8,000 home fires each year from 2013-2017. Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything flammable and avoid use in areas where people sleep, the NFPA advises. Also, inspect your holiday lights for damaged cords and bulbs and turn them off when you leave home or go to bed. 

This year, celebrate safely with these five simple precautions to protect your home and family no matter where you are spending the holidays.

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