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Traveling this holiday season? Who's watching your home?

Homes are more likely to be burglarized during the months of November and December

A lot of preparation goes into holiday travel, but it’s just as critical to make sure your home is safe while you’re away.

AAA estimates that more than 113 million Americans will travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

Unfortunately, homes are more likely to be burglarized during the months of November and December than any other months of the year, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. The group estimates that robberies and break-ins rose by 20% in the month of December alone.

The most obvious way to secure your residence is to invest in a home security camera or to pay for a home security system.

Remote monitoring of your home reduces the risk of a break-in and increases the likelihood of recovering stolen merchandise if a burglary occurs. A University of North Carolina at Charlotte study conducted by Professor Joe Kuhns of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology found that 83% of would-be burglars look for signs of an alarm, and more than half would skip the house if they found one.

Home security systems and cameras can be expensive, but there are also easy and less costly ways to help protect your property while traveling.

Connecting your lights to a timer is a simple strategy to keep a house from appearing empty. A 2022 U.S. Department of Justice report indicates that most thefts are opportunistic, but not random. According to the report titled “Searchers and Opportunists: Offender Behavior and Burglary Prevention,” homes that appear vacant are broken into with 30% greater frequency than homes that appear occupied.  

Similarly, it makes sense to keep a car parked in the driveway, making it appear that someone is home.

“Burglary is often a crime of opportunity,” according to the DOJ report. To reduce your risk of becoming a target, make sure doors and windows are locked and remove hiding places from your doorways which make it easier for someone to conceal themselves during a break-in.

The DOJ report also suggests being mindful of trash bins. 

“Excess cardboard and boxes around the trash can indicate that the homeowners are receiving frequent deliveries. This can either entice a break-in or encourage thieves to check back for new deliveries,” the report stated.

As Americans have taken to ordering more and more online, porch piracy has become a big problem. An estimated 1.7 million packages are lost or stolen in the U.S. every day, according to the security company Those numbers spike even higher during the holidays.

The easiest way to prevent package theft is to simply schedule deliveries when you know you’ll be home. If that’s not possible, ask a neighbor or a family member to check your residence for packages and to store them safely until you return.

As long as someone is collecting your packages, you might as well ask them to grab your mail.

An overflowing mailbox is a sure sign that a house is vacant, according to’s website.

 “You want to minimize the number of people who know you’ll be away,” the site states, “but it makes sense to have a few trusted people keep an eye on your residence while you’re traveling.”