More than 1 million home burglaries are estimated to cost households roughly $3 billion in losses every year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But what you may not know is that December is one of the peak months for home thefts in many states. Since home burglaries are not a new phenomenon, the Insurance Center would like to pass on some widely accepted home security tips that can reduce your chances of a home burglary.

“It is common sense to lock your front doors, but many homeowners may not have considered other points of access or environmental factors that could deter thieves from even attempting a break-in,” said Robert J. Sammon, president of The Insurance Center.

Committed to helping families stay safe year-round, the Insurance Center recommends reading these home safety tips to deter criminals from entering your home around the holidays.

Make your home come alive

Most residential break-ins occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. while homeowners are at work or school. Leaving the radio or television on can be a deterrent for some thieves, according to security expert Steve Houseworth. Needless to say, if your home is seeming with activity, a burglar may think twice about targeting your home.

Conceal boxes that suggest expensive items

Whether you are on vacation or buying gifts to tuck under your tree, thieves mark December on their calendars as a time to act. In many places, December is the month when the most home burglaries occurred. That being said, homeowners should avoid announcing large purchases when they throw out boxes that would seem to suggest there are expensive items in your household. Consider using black bags to conceal recently thrown out box packaging for expensive items like new gaming systems or televisions.

Consider the obvious entrances

Roughly one third of break-ins are not forced entries, in fact, thieves often use the front door to get into homes. Homeowners should take extra caution in ensuring they have locked every point of entry available. Windows and garage doors are also popular entry points for thieves, so lock those tight as well.

Play mind games with would-be thieves

Sometimes placing home security stickers and lawn signage are enough to make thieves reconsider their options. From a thief’s point of view, they will have to take a gamble whether your signage is a bluff. Many will consider the risk and simply move on to easier targets.

Lights. Camera. Action

For those that are willing to splurge on home security systems, doing so may reduce home insurance premiums. Although a security system can also help apprehend criminals, the FBI released a report that found the vast majority of residential burglaries go unsolved because of little evidence and noted that average burglary offenses cost people $2,200 in losses. Even when people are caught, few victims get their belongings back. This is why it may be more important to discourage thieves before a break-in happens. For this reason, the use of motion sensing lights is another tool in a homeowner’s arsenal.

This is the time of year to be charitable, but homeowners could be giving more than they anticipated if they are not careful with securing their home. The Insurance Center is here to assist you, and this tip sheet is just one way of expressing our concern for your wellbeing this month.

If you have other questions about possible dangers this season or want to know the best way to protect your family from loss, speak with a Insurance Center agent by calling one of our locations.