We asked police and crime experts how to keep your home safe for the holidays

Holiday season is in full swing. Before you head out and enjoy festivities, make sure you are taking precautions to keep your home safe while you’re away. Channel 6 reached out to Crime Stoppers and the Temple Police Departments for their tips on how to keep criminals from doing their dirty work. 

Crime Stoppers included the following tips:

  • Be vigilant about locking doors and windows whether you are at home or out
  • When you leave the house, consider leaving a few lights on inside, as well as possibly a front porch light, television and/or radio.
  • Large gifts should not be visible through windows
  • Automatic timers are suggested for both indoor and outdoor lights
  • Have your keys in your hand before you reach the car door or front door
  • Keep a secure hold on your belongings when arriving home after dark.

The Temple Police Department provided the following tips for travelers, or if you're just out for the evening. Some of them mirrored the advice from Crime Stoppers.

  • Get an automatic timer for your lights
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home when you're away
  • Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it is a sure sign you're gone. 
  • Be cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it's just for a few minutes.

As years have passed, many consumers are opting to shop online rather than being amongst the crowds during the holiday shopping season. The Temple Police Department gave the following package delivery protection recommendations for residents.

  • If you are having your purchased shipped to your house, sign up for delivery alerts from the shipper. If you aren't home during delivery, message a neighbor to have them take the package back to their place until you get home.
  • If possible, require a signature for all your deliveries, If there's no one to sign for the package, it won't be left at your home.
  • Be neighborly. If you see a package sitting on a neighbor's doorstep, reach out and ask if they would like you to hold it until they are home. 

Recently, a Killeen woman shared a video of suspects attempting to burglarize her home. She was able to capture the footage on her home security system. Temple police said home surveillance cameras can be effective crime deterrents. Cameras should be displayed where potential criminals can see them, yet high enough to prevent them from being tampered with. Outdoor security lighting and a home alarm system can also be effective crime deterrents.

If a stranger comes to the door, Temple Police gave the following tips:

  • Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when accepting a package.
  • It is not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others' generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved.
  • Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used.
  • If you aren't satisfied, don't give.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and subjects in your neighborhood.
  • Putting a stop to package theft and residential burglaries is a team effort.
  • Talk to your neighbors and encourage everyone to keep an eye out for suspicious activity (an individual or vehicle following a delivery truck, a stranger removing a package from outside a residence, etc). Suspicious activity should be reported by police by calling 911.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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