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‘Tis the season to be jolly: time for festivity and family. ‘Tis also the season for a surge in shoplifting, parcel snatching, and robbery if you’re not careful. If the goofball 90s comedy Home Alone comes to mind when you think of holiday burglaries, you’re not alone. But does crime really go up for Christmas? How can you protect your home and valuables during this joyful but hectic time of year? And how can retailers prevent shoplifting during the busy season?
Is There More Crime During the Holidays?
When it comes to burglaries, summer vacation is the peak window. But a 2022 Porch Research study showed that the value of items taken is at its highest in November and December, with jewelry and technology more likely to be stolen during the holidays than at other times. The US Department of Justice’s 2019 Criminal Victimization Study also shows that robbery (theft with a threat of violence) and personal larceny rose 20 percent in December. So we’re at greater risk of having purses, parcels, jewelry or money snatched while out and about during the holidays. Theft and shoplifting are also significant problems for retail businesses at this busy time of year. Over half of small retail businesses report increased shoplifting during the holiday season.
Why Should I Be Concerned About Crime During the Holidays?
Just like the bumbling bad guys in “Home Alone,” burglars see holiday travel, hustle, and bustle as an opportunity. Like the summer months, the holidays present extra opportunities for crime.
Most of us are away from home more frequently during the holidays. Whether it’s travel or simply finding ourselves out of the house for shopping and other activities, leaving the house gives burglars an opportunity. The rise in online shopping makes packages easy pickings if you’re not careful. Finally, robbery opportunities rise with crowds in streets and malls for holiday shopping, dining out, and attending events.
How Can I Stay Safe During the Holidays?
Keeping yourself and your belongings safe while out and about is a matter of awareness and planning. Be aware of your surroundings when shopping or dining. Travel in groups and avoid shopping at night when possible. Leave expensive jewelry at home when out on the town, and avoid leaving valuables in your car. Finally, be mindful of your purse and shopping bags: keep them close and hang on tight while walking or taking a break.
How Can I Protect My Home and Belongings During the Holidays?
Preventing burglaries is all about reducing opportunities for intruders. A smart home security system is a cornerstone of protecting your home.
If you don’t have a security system, the holidays are a perfect time to consider investing. Be sure to include the following elements: doorbell cameras and exterior security cameras; motion sensors on doors and windows; an alarm system; smart controls and remote access via your smartphone; and automatic alerts when something unusual happens. Smart locks allow you to create entry codes for neighbors and pet sitters watching your home while you travel. Monitor your package deliveries online, and don’t let packages linger on the porch. Doorbell cameras can help deter and catch porch pirates.
Consider exterior lights during the short days of winter. Motion lights with sensors can alert you if someone is on your property. Placing lights near walkways and entryways makes intruders easier to spot. Meanwhile, smart home technology can help you make it look like you’re home when you’re not. You can control interior lights and blinds and even turn on your television and sound system remotely. That sure would have made things a lot easier for our hero, Kevin, in Home Alone.
How Can My Business Prevent Theft During the Holidays?
Shoplifting is a significant problem during the busy holiday shopping season. A 2022 US Chamber of Commerce survey indicated that more than half of small retailers experienced in-store theft, and 53 percent said shoplifting increases during the holiday season. Effective theft prevention measures include hiring extra security employees on peak days, training salespeople to spot and handle shoplifters, and upgrading your security system with cameras and other technology.
Security cameras and alarms are two of the most valuable shoplifting prevention measures. Interior and exterior cameras with video recorders let you know what’s happening and provide valuable evidence to law enforcement. Live CCTV is another essential theft-prevention tool. Closed-circuit television is transmitted to a limited number of monitors in real-time and can track in-house activity and hard-to-access exterior areas. Your surveillance cameras should be visible to customers and staff as a deterrent. Finally, merchandise alarms and electronic security tags can trigger an alarm if items are removed from a store.
Invest in Security for the Holidays
Thirty years ago, the crooks in Home Alone got busted thanks to an ingenious 8-year-old. Now, all it takes to protect your home or business is 21st Century technology. With the best home and business security equipment and top-notch installation, Aegis Technologies can help provide peace of mind for the holidays and beyond. Here’s wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our team.