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Burglar’s Checklist: Is Your Florida Home a Holiday Theft Target?

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Dec 11, 2015

“He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, gonna decide which house to break into tonight…”

For many Florida homeowners, the holidays are a time for gathering ’round the table with family and friends. For criminals, the holidays are a time to score on some awesome steals… from your home.

What makes a home a prime target for holiday hoodlums, and what can Florida homeowners do to protect their home against theft?

A Neglected Front Yard

When’s the last time you trimmed your hedges? Heavy landscaping, especially right next to the house, allows burglars to easily camouflage themselves as they sneak into a home without the neighbors noticing.

Even worse… Overflowing trash cans and mailboxes, uncollected newspapers and an overgrown lawn scream, “No one’s home.” For burglars, this is an indication that it’s a good time to strike.

Unlocked Doors and Windows

From unlocked doors to windows left open or unlocked, burglars usually target homes that are easy to enter. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of home invasions (56.7%) occur through an open or unlocked door or window.

Own a two-story home? Don’t think for a second that a burglar won’t try to enter through an upstairs window, especially if they can grab the ladder so conveniently stored behind the house to climb up with ease.

The garage door is another common entry point for burglars. All it takes is an unlocked car, a garage door opener and bam… They’re inside.

Small, Portable, Pricey Items

In most cases, holiday thieves have only one goal – to make money off your stuff with as little effort as possible. They often steal items that they can sell quickly and are hard to track down. Small electronics, jewelry and even thumb drives are must-have items on most burglars’ wish lists.

They want small, portable, pricey,” says Anthony Berrios, Associate Dean of Criminal Justice at Keiser University. 

BurglarCheckList

Predictable Schedules

It’s easy for us to get stuck in a routine, especially during the work week. Unfortunately, burglars use this to their advantage. As creepy as it sounds, there are burglars who watch a homeowner’s every move and pick up on routines. If they notice that you leave the house every morning for work and don’t return until evening, they have found the perfect window of opportunity to strike.

What Can Florida Homeowners Do?

In most cases, burglars are looking for easy targets. Essentially, the more obstacles you create, the less likely a burglar will choose your home as a target. Don’t become a statistic – take the following precautions to prevent your home from being a victim of burglary this holiday season:

  • Switch up your schedule when possible. Install timers on your lights to turn on and off throughout the day to give the impression that you’re home.
  • Don’t leave valuable possessions in places that are visible from the outside of your house. For example, don’t stack holiday gifts so high that someone could see them through the front window.
  • Before leaving home for the holidays, double check that all doors, windows and other openings are locked and secured.
  • Don’t publicly announce your travel plans. Be careful when discussing your trip details in public places like restaurants, offices and stores – and on social media.
  • Investing in a home security system is one of the best ways to keep your home safe during and after the holiday season. How safe? Homes without security systems are three times more likely to be burglarized than those with security systems.
  • Make sure your valuables are covered in case of property theft. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a $1,000 limit for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, furs, and precious and semi-precious stones. People’s Trust Insurance offers additional coverage options for policyholders. Give us a call today at 1-888-524-6003 to discuss your coverage needs.