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Home Alone 4

Image by Cayusa via Flickr

(ARA) – We all fondly remember it – young Macaulay Culkin defending his home from rough and tough burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern with a fake dinner party, booby traps and even a hot iron. But while “Home Alone” is a fun holiday movie to watch, it’s also a good reminder of the dark side that the holiday travel and shopping season can bring: home robberies. With the extreme rush and excitement of the holiday season, homeowners focus on shopping and travel rather than the safety of their homes, and basic steps to protect households are often overlooked.

On average, 117 million Americans travel during the holidays, spending three to five days away from home while gone. According to resources like the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, studies show that lack of preparation or clear holes in security are the main causes of home invasion during this time. Victims of these holiday hoodlums say that they would have taken steps to improve the safety of their home had they been aware of its vulnerability. Dropcam, Inc., maker of the most versatile Wi-Fi video camera and intelligent streaming service, offers the following 10 tips to ensure home owners take the proper steps to keep their homes protected:

  1. Leave a key with a friend or relative who can stop by to check that everything is in order; having someone regularly visit the house will deter home invaders.
  2. Let close neighbors know how long you will be out of town so they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity or individuals.

  3. Research and use “home safety” technology such as a Wi-Fi video camera to keep an eye on things while you’re gone, and smartphone apps such as ones that allow you to turn lights on and off remotely.

  4. Ask a neighbor to shovel your driveway every few days and create tracks in the snow to show foot traffic to make it look like your home is lived-in.

  5. If you have a neighborhood watch service, let them know the days you will be out of town and ask that they check in on your house and walk around the backyard.

  6. Double-check that all doors, windows and pet exits are shut and locked before you leave.

  7. Use a timer to switch on indoor lights at different times throughout the day to give the impression that someone is home.

  8. Remove high value or attractive contents from windows, and bring any bicycles inside the house or garage.

  9. Break down boxes of expensive gifts such as electronics, and carefully place them in trashcans so not to advertise to others the nice gifts under the tree.

  10. Do not use social media like Facebook or Twitter to publicize that you will be out of town.

“We unfortunately see an increase of burglaries during the holidays, and many are simply the result of distraction and ill-preparedness,” says Gary Miller, former police chief of the Boerne Police Department in Texas. “There are about five million homes burglarized each year in the U.S. and it’s important to use common sense and understand it can happen to you. It only takes one time so you should keep home safety top of mind, especially in December when your home is not only more valuable, but also more vulnerable.”

Dropcam’s camera and streaming service is one product you can buy this season that can help you keep a watchful eye on your home. After setting up a Dropcam HD, you can access your real-time video stream on a computer, smartphone or tablet for on-the-go 24/7 viewing. You can also stay up to date with instant email and push alerts for motion and audio detection. With Dropcam DVR, you can record up to 30 days of moment-by-moment video. Personal video feeds can be safely and privately shared with friends and family. Some examples of how people are using their Wi-Fi video cameras can be found at

“Having a video monitoring system is a great way to increase your home security and ensure you don’t miss an important moment. Any extra measure you can take will pay off,” Miller says.

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