It seems the holiday season starts earlier each year. This fall, our Halloween candy was hardly finished before Christmas lights appeared. Amid the ever-expanding holiday hustle, it’s a good idea to review some safety tips to ensure peace of mind all winter long.
These busy months are filled with family gatherings, shopping sprees, gift exchanges — and plenty of travel. Whether your journeys take you across town or across the country, here are some tips for keeping your home safe:
- Lock all doors and windows before leaving home. It’s obvious, but it’s easy to overlook this no-brainer. Here’s a hack for those who wonder “Did I lock the doors?” Before setting out, take photos of each locked door. You’ll rest easy during your travels, certain you didn’t forget.
- Consider installing a smart camera system as a deterrent against crime. Home security cameras like Ring and Nest have never been cheaper or easier to use. If you already own a camera setup, double-check that it’s working properly.
- Travelling far? Tell a neighbor you trust that you’ll be out of town. Ask them to keep an eye on things, collect your mail, and maybe even park a car in your driveway. The appearance of activity will deter crime.
- Wait to post travel photos and details on social media until you return. Even if your profile is private, word can spread in unpredictable ways. To a crook, your trip is an invitation to break in.
At The Stores
Are you a Black Friday shopper? More of a “last-minute scramble” type? (Guilty.) Either way, holiday shopping presents ample opportunity for pick-pocketers and burglars. You can take some steps to give yourself peace of mind:
- It’s always better together. A shopping buddy can be helpful in spotting danger and deterring criminals.
- Store hopping? Be sure to keep all items—especially high-value ones—in your trunk so you don’t attract thieves or break-ins.
- Park strategically. Leave your car near the storefront, or in a well-lit area, if you’re shopping at night. You want to avoid walking through long parking lots or garages while burdened down by bags.
- Ask a security guard or police officer for an escort if you feel unsafe at any time.
Cybercrime is all over the news. Don’t let a digital thug ruin your family’s holiday. It’s as easy as ever to protect yourself online with these simple steps:
- In stores, pay with cash as often as possible. Recent data breaches have exposed sensitive information about millions of consumers. Paying cash keeps your card details private, limiting your risk of hacks or identity theft.
- When you shop online, be sure the web address starts with “https.” That extra “s” stands for secure, and it proves the website encrypts the sensitive data like your payment info. If there’s no “s,” there’s a chance your data could be at risk. Be especially careful if shopping on a public network, like at a coffee shop or in an airport.
- Don’t reuse passwords. These days, practically every site requires a new account. It’s tempting to recycle the same trusty password for each login. But if any one of these sites gets hacked (a fair bet), your security is compromised everywhere. Use a password manager to make this easy — we like LastPass here at Signal 88 HQ, but plenty of great options are out there. So long, qwerty123.
At the Office
The holiday season creates new challenges at the workplace, too. No matter your line of work, follow a few strategies to
- Provide peace of mind with security officers. Security companies like Signal offer mobile patrols or dedicated officers to deter crime and offer peace of mind all season long. Each locally-owned franchise tailors service to clients’ unique needs.
- Advise your security team and local law enforcement of special events and holiday rushes that you’re expecting. Communication is key to great security.
- Empower your team with the knowledge that they have a crucial role in keeping the area safe. Ensure your staff is familiar with suspicious activity indicators and knows how to respond. Encourage staff and employees to trust their instincts, and to follow safety procedures before, during, and after business hours.
- Check that all security devices are functional, including cameras, radios, and shoplifting detectors.
Interested in more safety tips? Check out our blog for other tips and tricks.