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With the holidays in full swing it is important to make sure your home is safe from break-ins. According to the FBI crime report, nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the United States from November to December each year. The last thing you want to deal with during the holidays is a broken-into home. So, whether you plan on traveling or just staying home this season, check out these basic steps to ensure this years holiday season is a joyous and safe one for you and your loved ones.

1. Get to Know Your Neighbors:
Notify a trusted neighbor if you are going to be out of town or away from your home for an extended amount of time. Before you go, leave them your contact information and let them know where you will be going. Ask them to keep an eye out on your home and your entire property. If you are comfortable with your neighbor, don't hesitate to ask them to park in your driveway or in front of your house from time to time so it looks like there is some type of activity going on at your home. Letting your neighbors know when/where you will be gone will give your home extra protection and allow them to report anything suspicious.

2. Do Not Advertise on Social Media:
Don't let technology and social media get you into trouble. Resist the urge to announce your travel or departure plans on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Another thing to keep in mind is to not post anything on social media about your holiday purchases. Thieves use social media sites to find their potential victims. We all want to brag from time to time about where we are headed or that awesome gift we got by posting it on social media, but sharing this information with the world is like rolling out the welcome mat for burglars.

3. Pretend to Be Home:
This is an extremely important tip to remember. You do not want to leave any signs of an empty house while you are away. Make your house looks lived in by having that trusted neighbor pick up your mail, newspaper and trash can. Another option is to stop deliveries of your mail/packages while you are away. Nothing says you're not home like a pile up of incoming mail and newspapers. Also, if you are planning on being out of town for a while you may want to think about having someone take care of your lawn. You don't want to allow your yard to become too overgrown because this too will advertise your absence.

4. Secure Locks, Doors, Windows, Vehicles:
More than 40 percent of break-ins happen without the use of force. This is due to the fact that people are simply just not locking up before they leave their home. It is important to actively check each and every door and window to make sure they are securely locked and the dead bolt is in use. Do not hide your spare key anywhere outside. Criminals are highly experienced in finding the spare key. If you must have a spare key, leave it with your trusted neighbor or a relative. If you are out shopping this holiday season keep all of your car's doors locked at all times and do not leave gifts out in plain sight.

5. Don't Be a Show-Off: 
Decrease the visibility of your valuables by putting them in a place where they can't be seen from outside the house. That pricey new computer or television you just purchased is a main attraction for burglars. You also want to remember to close your garage doors even if you are home. On the other hand, if you will be out of town it is a good idea to safe-keep your valuables. Lock up your jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe.

The holiday season can bring enough stress so make sure you take appropriate measures to adequately secure your home. While we are not able to stop a break-in from occurring at your residence, we are here to make sure your home is covered. Contact The Louisiana Insurance Center for your homeowners needs.

 
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