Bing Crosby, turkey dinners and hanging out with family. Decorating the house and the smell of Christmas are very fond memories for me. The holidays can be stressful enough without the added worry of theft. The holiday shopping and traveling creates many situations that if you're not always watching and practicing good safety habits you can become a target. So what are some tips to help with making sure your holidays are not similar to a crazy comedy people might watch on the big screen?
1. Leave your House Lights on--not your Christmas decorations but your outside lights on throughout the night. Nothing screams easy target more than a dark home with no outside lighting. Criminals do not want to be seen or recognized so by leaving your lights on you take a proactive approach toward would be thieves. Make sure all your outside lights are not only working properly but are lighting the areas that need well lit. A well lit home is one of the last places a criminal wants to visit when there are others homes without the lights on. Be proactive and make sure that your lights cast enough light for your yard and home to be well lit.
2. Avoid sharing your location through social media while shopping or travelling. This sounds unbelievable but your social media can actually tip off people to make your home a target by them knowing that you are gone. Taking pictures and posting them to your site can let others know you are travelling which makes your home and belongings vulnerable. If you must share those trips and all your pictures do so when you return that way people will not know you're out of town. Think of it this way--you would never go out of town and call the local television station to make a commercial about your upcoming trip, that would make no sense. Posting your location while away from home is a commercial to everyone that you're not home, so save those pics till you arrive back home.
3. Don't carry large amounts of cash while travelling or shopping. You may not notice that you're being followed at the mall because a pair of criminals spotted how you bought your family's gifts. You could be robbed in the parking lot simply because you used cash instead of safely using a card. Your card is the safest way to insure that if you are the victim of a robbery you will be insured of your losses and the criminals won't get far since the card can be reported as stolen. If you're traveling and carrying cash is a must only carry small amounts and make more visits to the bank for cash. Losing large amounts of cash at the holidays is no way to get into the Christmas spirit. Using a money belt if going out of the country is always a good idea to keep the cash closer to you and out of sight for would be thieves.
4. You've bought the perfect gift and now you wanna hide it till Christmas day and surprise your family member or loved one with a really nice piece of jewelry. Where would you think of hiding it? The sock drawer, in a closet, in the fridge? How about making sure you have the expensive gifts under lock and key! If it's jewelry then you already should invest in a lockbox. Most people with expensive items also go ahead and possibly take out extra insurance on those type gifts.
The point of all this is don't make it easy for someone to ruin your holidays and steal your precious items that you've worked hard for. Be proactive and take all these steps to make sure you are not the target of some stupid criminal. Enjoy your family time without worrying if you're gonna be the next home on the street to get robbed.
Tammy Johnson, our CEO and serial entrepreneur, has over 20 years of hospitality experience. She writes about how a business can benefit from hiring a private security company.