Thanksgiving is arguably one of the most widely celebrated US holidays. There’s nothing like grubbing on endless amounts of turkey, buttery mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, all while your younger family members argue over who gets to break the wishbone. As property owners, Thanksgiving is a special time where you can not only cherish your own family, but the families you rent to.
Unfortunately, criminals are also aware of how celebrated Thanksgiving (and other winter holidays like Christmas) is and burglaries around this time are extremely common. While it’s easy to think “it won’t happen to me”, “my tenants are safe”, or even “it’s a good neighborhood,” the reality is that according to the FBI there’s one burglary committed every 14.6 seconds. The potential physical and psychological damage to your tenants alone is cause for concern. So this holiday season, be sure to warn your tenants and give them some helpful tips to keep their families and your property safe.
Be Mindful of Social Media
While your tenants are excited to travel to another state or city for the holidays, you might want to express caution. Posting your whereabouts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is one of the easiest ways for thieves to know if your home will be unattended. While parents might know not to reveal when they’re going on vacation, children and teenagers often do not. Point out to your residents that they should be cautious over what anyone in the household posts online regarding their travel plans.
Looking Like You’re Really Home
When you’re packing up for a big holiday trip, it’s easy to forget to set up some tricks for potential burglars. Remind your tenants to make it look like they’re home (even when they’re not) by leaving a light on, turning on the radio, or by giving a friend a key so they can check in every now and then. If your residents are gone for long, suggest cancelling their newspaper delivery or asking their neighbors to park in their driveway occasionally. This will help ward off the patient burglars.
Clean Up and Locks
If your property has a garden shed, make sure it’s locked and that all gardening tools are stowed away. One year on Easter morning, all of my father’s expensive tools were stolen from our shed. Prevent this unpleasant situation by talking to your residents about temporarily moving any valuable items (such as bar-b-ques or nice patio furniture) and storing them away from plain sight. To finish your tips off, give your residents a quick checklist of places to lock up before their holiday vacation. Although locking the front door, windows, and screen doors are pretty self-explanatory, your renters will appreciate the quick reminder.
We all know someone with a burglary horror story. Jennifer M. came back from her Christmas vacation to find that her neighbors had broken down their back door and stolen everything, even her makeup. Jack H. described how thieves broke in and stole all their personal information, from social security cards to passports, and had left a big knife in his mother’s room. And Natalie W. had her bicycles stolen right out of her fenced back yard! No matter if the burglary is big or small, it makes your resident feel like their own home (your property) is unsafe. Protect your residents from the physical and psychological harm burglary causes by reminding them of these few tips, that way you and your residents can enjoy their Thanksgiving, and holiday season, in peace.
For more tips to prevent burglaries, go to the San Jose Police website for a quick video and list.