Security expert shares top 5 ways to ward off thieves this holiday season

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The holiday season may mean traveling with your family is in the near future. It also means you should remember important safety information that can save you a lot of heartache—and money.

Jeff McDowell, the owner McDowell Security, of the fastest-growing security company in Birmingham, wants to help you keep your home safe while you’re on the road.

No one wants to be a victim of a burglary, especially during the most wonderful time of the year which is also when your home is an even bigger target than usual.

Jeff has several tips and tricks to make sure your belongings are safe no matter where you are.

“Well, the first thing you need to do is make sure your doors are locked and leave a few lights on. That’s the biggest thing right there,” McDowell explained. “Don’t let people know that you’re going out of town. Don’t post it on social media. So many people do that. Don’t post it.”

Another thing to always double check is if your car doors are locked. It’s something we do on auto-pilot—click your wireless key fob—but the holiday season is so busy that it’s easy to forget amid shopping and unloading presents or groceries. Unfortunately, it’s in the news all the time—car break-ins made easy by unlocked vehicles.

“It happens all the time,” McDowell warned. “Just make sure you lock the door when you get out of the car. We absent mindedly forget to do that all of the time.”

Make it a habit to always double check and be mindful of hearing your car beep or lights flash to signify it’s locked up.

The saying hindsight is 20/20 is annoying but true. We wondered, what do people wish they would have done differently after a burglary?

“One of the biggest things I hear is people that have alarm systems in their house, they don’t set them. And think back and go, ‘okay, I have this alarm, why didn’t I set it?’ And they possibly could have caught the burglars in the act.”

Another area to keep an eye on is your social media posts—not just in posting where you are, but what you have under the tree as well.

“It’s not the best idea,” McDowell cautioned. “A lot of people will take a picture of their kids’ Santa stop. You know, ‘Santa visited us last night. Look what he brought.’ That’s just posting a catalog for somebody on social media, because if you have a public profile [or a profile with security settings that aren’t stringent], your friends’ friends can see that possibly, or anybody that might stumble across your profile and see it. It’s like posting a catalog.”

And just like you don’t want to show off new gifts on social media, don’t advertise it to your neighborhood either.
“If you’ve got a big screen TV, and you put that box out there, that’s just advertising: ‘hey, look what I have.’ Break it down. Put it in a bag. Hide it. Don’t advertise it,” McDowell stressed.

And don’t think it can’t happen to you, because it can.

“Everybody that it happens to, the day before it happened, thought it wouldn’t happen to them,” McDowell said.

McDowell Security is a local Alabama business that helps us get this important safety information out to the public. We hope these tips will help protect you and your family this season. McDowell Security is a full service security firm with trained personnel and specialized equipment to help protect your home, business or special event. They provide services for large corporate events to smaller private holiday parties–really anywhere in between, in addition to round the clock security for commercial real estate, and residential gated communities. They also provide neighborhood patrol to keep your community feeling safe and sound. Contact McDowell Security today and you can really feel safe for this holiday season.

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