Well-known children’s author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Giesel published his now famous How the Grinch Stole Christmas! back in 1957. Nearly 65 years later, the story is still well received by fans of all generations. Even so, it is in all our best interests to make sure the Grinch remains a work of fiction.
This year don’t let the green guy steal your Christmas. Between home burglary, porch piracy, and other crimes, security risks are out there. So do everything within your power to make this Christmas the most secure ever.
Most of Us Have Already Been Victims
In support of their post, Vivint conducted a survey among 1000 American homeowners. The survey was designed to uncover the typical homeowner’s experience with property crime around the Christmas holidays. It certainly generated some interesting data, that’s for sure.
For starters, 72% of us have already been victimized at least once in the past. Yes, you read that correctly. Nearly three-quarters of all American homeowners have been subject to property theft during the annual holiday season. The average loss from such thefts is $239.
That might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things but being hit four times adds up to almost $1,000. Even if the 72% who responded positively to that particular question were only hit once in their entire lifetimes, you are still looking at billions of dollars in losses. It is staggering when you think of it in such terms.
The survey also revealed that 69% of Americans are actually afraid they will fall victim to property crime at Christmas. Not only is that number equally surprising, but it is also terribly disappointing. The annual holiday season is supposed to be one of happiness. It should be a time when people are not afraid of criminals.
Porch Piracy Is a Big Thing
Needless to say, there are plenty of ways to fall victim to property crime. One of the easiest is porch piracy. The ease at which this particular crime can be perpetrated makes it a favorite among cowardly criminals who think nothing of preying on their neighbors.
The good news is that 79% of the survey respondents who reported being victimized by porch pirates say that the companies they purchased from replace their items free of charge. Furthermore, 12% did not report and could not afford to replace their items while 9% did report but didn’t receive a replacement.
So how do you prevent porch piracy? Half the survey respondents said they have installed security cameras. Half also say they enable package tracking notifications when they buy online. Other strategies include:
- having packages delivered to lockers
- installing motion-sensitive lighting
- designating hidden spaces where packages can be left
- having packages shipped to PO boxes.
The key to thwarting porch piracy is to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to steal your packages. That being the case, package lockers are one of the most effective solutions.
Falsely Reporting Porch Piracy
Unfortunately, there is one more sour note we need to tack on to the end of this discussion about porch piracy. Online survey reveals that 55% of Americans have falsely reported a stolen package in order to get a free replacement. Doing so is unconscionable. The person who does such a thing is no different than the criminal who steals packages off porches.
Our next topic is cybercrime related to holiday purchases. Apparently, the Christmas season is also cybercrime season. Some 57% of Americans report having experienced some sort of cybercrime as a result of purchasing holiday gifts. Average losses for this sort of crime are $114.
Cybercrimes can be everything from identity theft to making fraudulent charges on a victim’s credit card. Criminals can obtain information by way of credit card scanners, phishing emails, or hacking into business networks. Sometimes, criminals are the very people who run legitimate credit card transactions for their employers. Then they turn around and use the victim’s information to buy for themselves.
Common tips for preventing holiday related cybercrime include:
- keeping all device software up to date
- making use of multi-step authentication where possible
- always using strong, unique passwords
- avoiding auto-fill browser tools for credit and debit card information
- always being suspicious of email solicitations
- securing home networks with encryption and strong passwords.
Like preventing porch piracy, preventing cybercrime is really about making it as difficult as possible for criminals to do what they do. The harder they need to work, the more likely they are to move on to easier targets.
Holiday Home Burglaries
The one thing many experts do not mention is home burglary. All of that notwithstanding, the annual holiday season is attractive to burglars who love nothing more than to get their hands on cash, jewelry, and small electronics.
Crafty burglars who know how to make the most of the holidays tend to be particularly good at what they do. They pay attention to signals that suggest a home is vacant. They pay attention to what homeowners put out to the trash. They scour social media sites for any information that might tell them a homeowner is out of town for the holidays.
Protecting against home burglary involves taking a comprehensive approach. It involves putting heavy-duty locks on doors and windows, installing adequate exterior lighting, deploying a home security system with cameras, and engaging neighbors to all keep an eye on things.
There is plenty more we could get into in this post. However, we’ll stop here. The main point is that criminals do not take a break from November through early January. If anything, they work that much harder. You should work just as hard to beat them. Do not let the green guy steal your Christmas this year.