Winter Burglaries: Are You Protected?

Winters in Syracuse bring many challenges to homeowners and locksmiths alike, not the least of which is that burglary rates seem to spike in the winter, sometimes by as much as 20%.

While you’d think people would want to avoid the cold, locksmiths in Syracuse and other regional areas offer several reasons. First, the longer nights provide more cover of darkness for criminals, and they know that many homeowners choose the winter season to take vacations and jet off to warmer climates. Second, during the holiday season, especially in early winter, homes and porches are often filled with expensive gifts and deliveries.

But before you think about staying home under lock and key, don’t worry. The same principles of home security apply now as they do in the warmer months. You just need to be extra vigilant when applying them.

Ensure Your Home’s All-Weather Security

Before the weather gets bad, and living in Syracuse it almost certainly will, you should prepare for the winter by conducting a thorough examination of your home.

If you aren’t sure what to look for or what to address, ask a residential locksmith to check your doors, locks and windows. Abrupt changes in temperature can sometimes cause materials (especially wood) to expand and contract, so you should make sure everything is tight and in good condition before the weather takes its toll. Doors that don’t fully close and lock are the most common discovery by our locksmiths. A strong wind or a forceful push, and your home is now accessible to the elements, or even worse.

Furthermore, when temperatures drop, the internal locking mechanism of many locks can malfunction, making it impossible to open them. Regular cleaning and lock maintenance will prevent this, and our locksmiths can service your home locks throughout the Syracuse area.

Our professional locksmiths know how important it is to prevent any weak points that a burglar could exploit. More than just door locks and keys, locksmiths know that eliminating access to vulnerabilities is the best course of prevention.

Light Up Your House and Drive Them Away

With winter comes extra hours of darkness and this is a major factor in higher crime rates. While our locksmiths don’t assist with lighting, we absolutely recommend that you make it harder for burglars to do their dirty work by keeping the outside of your house well lit.

Check all your bulbs and make sure you have lights at all the entrances to your home, your garage, and around the first-floor windows if they’re in shadow. Some even choose to add a spotlight to their lawns to not only showcase their holiday decorations but also to add additional non-intrusive security.

Motion-sensor lights are a great choice for your doors and you’ll find them to be safe, convenient, and easier on your electric bill. Motion lights turn on automatically if they detect movement and then turn back off once everything is quiet. In addition to lighting your way, they can also alert you if anyone unexpected approaches the door or at least make the potential thief think he’s being watched.

Travel Tips From Your Friendly Neighborhood Locksmith

If you’re going away, or even if you just prefer the hands-off convenience, you may want to consider getting automatic timers for some of your interior lighting. This will give the impression that someone is home and you won’t have to worry about a darkened house.

Having quality locks installed or maintained by a professional locksmith can help add security and peace of mind, but it’s still important to be diligent when traveling. After all, an empty home is a more desirable home to burglars, so here are some additional tips to consider before going away.

  1. If you can’t get a sleep-in housesitter, take some steps to maintain the appearance that someone is keeping an eye on the place. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery, and make sure trusted neighbors keep watch for packages or flyers.
  2. Have someone hired on standby to take care of your driveway and sidewalks in the event of a big snow storm. If it appears that your driveway hasn’t been touched in days, it can be quite the clue to prospective thieves.
  3. It’s tempting to post all about your exciting travel plans on Facebook, but keep in mind that all sorts of people use social media, for all kinds of reasons. In fact, many burglars actually use Facebook to find empty houses. Never post details of your trip before you go, especially the dates you’ll be away. This is practically advertising that your house is empty and it can make it a target. Consider waiting until you’re safely back home to share all your photos and stories.

A Closing Note About Holiday Safety

Unlike locksmiths, home security is probably not the top thing on your mind around the holidays. But unfortunately, this is the time of year many burglars choose to help themselves to a few extra gifts.

Here are some closing tips about winter safety. Again, while not related to our locksmith services, we believe that home security goes beyond the locks and keys we install, repair, or maintain.

If you buy or receive expensive items, don’t just leave the boxes out with the trash, as this shouts to anyone who passes by that you now have cool stuff in your house. Instead, collapse the boxes, turn them inside out, and hide them inside or under the bin.

Keep curtains drawn when you’re not at home, so no-one can peek inside and see what valuables you may have lying around. And if you throw a holiday party at your home, keep an eye out for uninvited guests or lurkers.

This post isn’t meant to scare you, it’s meant to help prepare you. Winter may be long and cold, but that’s no reason to not feel warm, safe, and secure whether you’re in your home or away.

If you would like to have your doors, entrances, and locks assessed by our professional locksmiths, or if you need to have locks added, repaired, or serviced, simply give us a call at (315) 510-5880 or request a FREE locksmith estimate!