From the big-screen that Santa brought to the snazzy new phone you gifted yourself, your home is likely brimming with brand-new temptations for burglars. Here are seven tips to keep your family, your home and your new goodies protected:
1. Hide Your Priciest Loot from View
The number-one rule of thumb for not getting burgled? Don’t tempt the burglars. And that means keeping expensive deliveries out of view. Walk the perimeter of your home, and see what you can see: Can you spot the glow of your new 50″ TV from the road? Are laptops open within view of the front windows? Does your PS4 hang out near the window ledge? Slight relocation can remove them from the sight path of peeping eyes.
2. Don’t Leave the Evidence at the Curb
The second mistake of new gifts is to leave their packaging out for curbside trash pickup. That 50″ TV box at the curb – guess what it’s telling your friendly neighborhood burglar? Instead of leaving pricey packaging out for all to see, break down boxes and fold them inside out. Wrap them in bags, if the logos are still showing. And put them out the night before garbage day. Preferably when it’s already dark.
3. Sign / Sticker / Digitally Mark Your Gear
If you received new, shiny portable gear – fancy cameras, laptops, tablets, etc. – consider tagging them with identifying labels. (Tip: Don’t put your address on the labels; a phone number and email will suffice.) And if your new phone, tablet, camera or other tech gadget carries a memory card inside, add an IfLost.txt file, complete with your contact information.
4. Slash the Flash
And speaking of high-ticket portable tech, consider transporting it in a very low-ticket, uglified casing. In other words, don’t run out and buy a $250 leather laptop case or blinged-out phone cover; instead, stash your stuff in unassuming wrapping (like a laptop backpack) so it’s not an instant target.
5. Hide the Goods (But Not Everything)
Put expensive jewelry in a safe. Stash your gadgets out of view. Essentially, don’t leave thousands of dollars in gifts out in plain sight. But don’t hide everything away, either. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s a good idea to leave a bit of cash and lower-cost goodies in easy-to-find spots; that way, if a thief does find his way into your home, he’s more likely to snatch your barely-hidden goods and getaway, than to tear your home apart in search of the really good stuff.
6. Secure Your Laptop
If you just got a new laptop, it’s time to secure it. Of course, you can physically secure it with a lock, but we’re more concerned with the information contained therein. And like home security, you’ll want to secure your computer with multiple layers of protection, like GPS tracking, and webcam mugshots, and password protections.
7. Aww, What a Cute Baby!
File this under weird but true: research has shown that your wallet is more likely to be returned if there’s a baby picture inside. Message received. Our advice: slip a baby photo into your wallet (doesn’t matter if you don’t have a baby, a neice or nephew’s photo will do!), but don’t stop there. Add a few to your camera’s memory card, stock a few on your laptop, etc. etc. Sprinkle baby pictures into all your tech, and it may just be the tipping point to getting your stuff returned someday.
Now you tell us: How are you keeping your new toys safe?