Did Your Home Pass the Holiday Safety Test?

The 2023 holiday season is now behind us. As we embark on a new year, it is a good time to assess home security with the goal of improving it over the coming months. To do so effectively, it’s a good idea to look back on the past year. More specifically, how did your home perform during the holiday season? Did it pass the annual holiday safety test?

To be fair, there is no official test for holiday home safety. But if you are like me, you are familiar with all the things the experts tend to talk about in the months leading up to the holidays. They talk about fire safety, preventing home burglary, and being wary of winter weather that could cause household accidents.

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Recapping how your home performed over the last several months can provide valuable insights into how you can approve home safety for the coming year. So let’s review. We will start with the prospect of home burglary.

A Lucrative Time for Property Crimes

The holiday season is a lucrative time for certain types of property crimes. Home and car burglaries are at the top of the list. Burglars are smart enough to know that people spend a lot of money during the last three months of the year. They also know that big ticket items are on the list for many holiday shoppers.

Here’s hoping that neither your home nor your car was burglarized in recent months. If that’s the case, do you think it was a matter of mere chance, or have you taken steps to prevent burglary? That is the big question.

If a burglar suspects you have the right kinds of items in your home, there is sufficient motivation to at least consider breaking in. But you can put a damper on any such decision by installing a monitored home security system along with heavy duty locks on the doors.

Some Cities Are More Prone Than Others

As long as we are talking about home and car burglary, you might be interested to know that some cities are more prone to such crimes than others. Vivint Smart Home recently analyzed data from 182 American cities to determine which ones have the highest risks of holiday property crimes. Here are the top five:

  1. Tacoma, WA
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Spokane, WA

Whether you live in one of these five cities or not, the local crime rate probably had something to do with whether or not burglars attempted to hit your house during the holidays. Homeowners in areas with higher rates of property crimes are obviously more motivated to install home security systems and take other measures.

Porch Piracy During the Holidays

Another highly lucrative crime during the holiday season is porch piracy. Once again, I hope you weren’t victimized. But if you were, is there anything you could have done to prevent it? Perhaps. Only you know the circumstances surrounding what happened to you.

Personally, I have never been victimized by porch pirates. Yet I read plenty of news stories about it. It seems like every few days the local station is reporting yet another porch piracy crime. One case in particular made me laugh when I first read it.

A woman in a neighboring town decided she would help herself to packages by following an Amazon delivery truck and quickly scarfing up what was left behind. What was funny about it? She had no plans to sell what she stole online or on the street. Rather, she was planning to give the stolen goods as Christmas gifts. She apparently found a novel way to shop for friends and family.

One of the best defenses against porch piracy is video surveillance. Whether it is in the form of a video camera mounted on the exterior of your house or a video doorbell with onboard audio, video surveillance provides evidence. It provided the evidence necessary to catch the woman I referenced earlier.

Fires and Carbon Monoxide Leaks

We often talk about home security in reference to burglaries and home invasions. But equally important is protecting yourself and your family in the event of fires or carbon monoxide leaks. Fire and carbon monoxide are often referred to as silent killers because they can do their dirty work without victims having any clue.

Fire itself is pretty easy to identify. But the real problem with house fires is smoke. A victim can be overcome by smoke long before she is actually reached by the flames. And if a fire breaks out in the overnight hours, a sleeping victim could be overcome by smoke without ever waking up.

Carbon monoxide is even more deadly because it is both colorless and odorless. You cannot see or smell it. Furthermore, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to flu symptoms. A person can be overcome by carbon monoxide and not realize there is a problem until it is too late.

Detectors In Your Home

All of this leads to an important question: is your home equipped with smoke alarms and CO detectors? It is a good idea to have at least one smoke alarm in the general vicinity of the kitchen and another near the bedrooms. If you have multiple bedrooms on multiple floors or at opposite ends of the house, each bedroom area should have its own smoke alarm.

CO detectors should also be installed near bedrooms. One per floor is usually sufficient. A detector should never be installed within close proximity of a furnace, fireplace, or gas stove.

If your home passes the holiday safety test, is it because you have made home security a priority, or just the fact that you lucked out and didn’t face any real risks? Take the next couple of weeks to assess how your home performed. If you find security holes, start working on patching them up. Make your home safer so that next year’s holiday season does not resemble the proverbial lump of coal.

Jessica J. Underwood
Subtly charming explorer. Pop culture practitioner. Creator. Web guru. Food advocate. Typical travel maven. Zombie fanatic. Problem solver. Was quite successful at developing wooden tops in the aftermarket. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting glucose in Bethesda, MD. Had moderate success managing action figures in New York, NY. Set new standards for selling crayon art in Salisbury, MD. In 2009 I was getting my feet wet with sock monkeys for the underprivileged. Spoke at an international conference about merchandising toy elephants in Nigeria.