For many of us, the winter holidays means traveling to loved ones and friends, and after the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, we hope you can all return to that tradition this year. As we get closer to the holidays, we wanted to share some safety and security tips, because everyone at Guardian Integrated Security wishes you, your family, and your business a safe and happy holiday season. You’ll find this helpful information in the next section of our newsletter.
We hope your families and employees feel safe, secure, and protected as 2021’s winter holidays approach. At GIS, we are available for any security needs you may have, so please reach out to us with concerns you’d like addressed. Our primary New Year’s resolution is to provide the best security services!
Everyone at Guardian Integrated Security wishes you, your family, and your employees a fun, joyful, safe, and secure holiday experience!
Global Director of Operations
Holiday Travel Security Tips
Are you going on a holiday trip? Or maybe closing up your home or business for a short period of time? Follow these tips.
Home / Business Security
- Lock all doors, windows, and gates before leaving. Also, be sure to take spare keys with you.
- Leave blinds and curtains partially open. Don’t worry – people will not be able to see in, but doing so makes it appear that someone is at the property.
- When possible, use timers on your lights, as this also gives the impression of normal activity at your home or business.
- Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail or contact the post office to hold it until you return.
- Work with a security company to do courtesy checks on your home or business, as it acts as a crime and loitering deterrent, and helps keep you informed if something were to happen. Also, engaging a security company means less chance of encountering an unexpected problem upon your return (which no one wants to confront).
Vehicle / Mall / Store Security
- When entering, make a mental note of where security offices, emergency exits, and other emergent assistance responders can be found or contacted.
- Keep your keys in a safe location. Do not hide them in your vehicle, and ideally not on your vehicle either.
- When retuning to your vehicle, have your keys at the ready. Also, have your cell phone in hand and able to call 911 quickly (just in case).
- As you approach your vehicle, be sure to scan the area, including looking underneath the vehicle as you approach it and look inside before entering it.
- Keep and transport all packages in your trunk. If you don’t have a trunk, try and keep them out of sight by using a blanket or jacket to cover them.
- Go to places that are well-lit and have a security presence (i.e. security officers or visual camera systems in place).
Gyms / Workout Centers
- Gyms rank high on the list of places where vehicles get broken into. Most people have their wallet or purse with them as they drive to a gym but rarely take it inside. This is a prime place for vandals who feel there is a good chance a wallet or purse is hidden in the vehicle.
- Always be aware of your surroundings – specifically who is watching you and who is following you.
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The Holiday Season is High-Time for Stealin’
We’ve all been seeing, hearing, or reading the news stories about increased crime in several major cities across the USA. It’s becoming more commonplace that criminals are brazen enough to steal in broad daylight with plenty of witnesses around, whether their targets are retail stores or places of residence. Many who observe these often frightening incidents are too afraid to come forward or, if they do, can’t provide enough information to help law enforcement. Unfortunate but true, this is the time of year when the probability of being a victim of robbery, burglary, or theft is the highest, with apartment complexes and communities being a favorite target of thieves.
Robberies occur when force or fear is used to take something, and tired tenants busy lugging their shopping bags full of holiday gifts from their cars to their apartment doors are very vulnerable to them. Other than the loss of perfect gifts and stocking stuffers for family and friends, not only will victims feel unsafe at the rental property they call “home”, but they could also be injured too – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically – and those wounds are more than likely going to last well past the current holiday season.
Breaking in with the intention of committing a theft (or felony) is considered burglary, and can include violence also. In the weeks – and especially few days – leading up to Christmas, items of value or in high demand are commonly in residences, either stored in closets or hiding places and awaiting their fancy wrapping paper, or stacked under a brightly lit tree that stands 5-7 feet tall (which, by the way, is quite easy to find the exact location of and figure out how to criminally access, even with window-covering curtains or blinds installed). The National Apartment Association estimates that 39 million Americans call apartments their homes, and Gallup polls have found that about 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas. This data can be extrapolated to inform us of a potentially grim statistic – 35.1 million people living in rentals commemorate the holiday, which as we all know is called “the season of giving” and the time of year when the most popular and sought-after products are frequently exchanged – these circumstances cascade into the criminal element’s ideal situation. Popularity plus high demand equals maximum dollar value from online selling apps or “fences” (entities who knowingly pay money for pilfered products, property, or possessions with the intention of later reselling those items for a profit).
One of the most common thefts during the holiday season is specifically called larceny, which is defined as the stealing of physical items. Ring cameras installed all over the country show online shopping deliveries being taken right off of doorsteps, stoops, and front porches by strangers who discreetly stalk delivery vehicles, hop out of their cars, quickly snatch up the just delivered goodies, then toss them in the backseat and move on to the next stop for more five-finger-delivery discount loot. At this time of year, a criminal could walk through any apartment community or by any residential rental building in America and find packages ripe for the picking, or try to break into the mailboxes to steal packages, or even walk right into the main office where many packages are held for tenants and grab ill-gotten gains.
While all of this seems rather bleak, you can help mitigate criminal behavior by being proactive, and having an experienced provider like Guardian Integrated Security provide services for your apartment community or rental housing complex.