This post was originally published on December 11, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

You might think that cold weather would deter criminals, but some illegal activity actually increases during the cooler months. For example, car theft jumps by about 25% in the winter.

This could be a result of shorter days, giving thieves more time to lurk around your house at night. It’s also common (but unsafe!) for people to leave their cars turned on in the driveway to heat them up. Whatever the case might be, homeowners need to take extra security precautions during the wintertime.

Below, we list some common security practices homeowners often overlook during this season.

1. Maintain the Outside Appearance of Your Home

Maintaining the outside of your home during the winter is important, especially if you plan on taking a trip. Intruders have a keen eye when it comes to identifying homes that are unoccupied. Signs of an empty home include:

  • Snowy driveways and walkways.
  • Piled up mail, packages and newspapers.
  • Absence of lights and activity.

If you plan on leaving for an extended period of time during the winter, make your home look like it’s occupied. Call neighbors to collect your mail and hire someone to clear your driveway.

Take home security a step further and invest in a monitored alarm service. That way, if a break-in were to occur, a monitoring center operator can notify you and the authorities right away.

2. Don’t Forget About Lighting

Indoor and outdoor lighting can greatly improve security, but they are sometimes overlooked by homeowners. In addition to your holiday lights, consider installing:

  • Smart lights. Make it look like you’re home even if you’re not with smart lights. These devices allow the user to control the lights inside and outside your home, all through your smart phone.
  • Flood lights. Use these lights in areas that are prone to be darker or more spacious. They are well-equipped to illuminate wide areas, like your front and backyard.
  • Motion-activated lights. These lights turn on every time they detect movement. Not only will this alert you to movement on your property, it will also act as a deterrent to intruders.

3. Lock Your Doors

Although it may seem obvious, lock all doors and windows before going to bed or leaving your home. Thirty-four percent of burglars enter homes through the front door, which indicates an overlooked home security practice.

Homeowners who often forget to lock their doors should consider installing smart locks. These devices eliminate the need for a key and give the user the ability to lock and unlock the home through a smartphone, which can prevent lockouts.

They also provide an activity log that updates any time the door is opened, and unique access codes for each user. You can even customize your security system to send you mobile alerts if someone tampers with your door.

Want to discuss how you can make your home safer this winter and beyond? Contact us today!