Business

10 tips to keep your home safe on Halloween

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Halloween presents a unique opportunity for criminals. How many times a year can a crook walk up to a house and ring the doorbell without even a suspicious glance from the neighbourhood?

With so many people wandering outdoors, a thief or vandal wouldn't even arouse suspicion. Homeowners do need to be concerned about Halloween pranksters and vandals, because damage to homes on Halloween night amount in the millions of dollars across the country each year.

Halloween brings out the worst in some people. So how can you prevent your home from being targeted?

1). Don't be cheap with the treats. The number-one reason a prankster will dip into his bag of tricks is because of a cheap homeowner. Trick-or-treaters expect good treats, so make sure you dole out a little more. After all, a little extra money spent now could save you a lot of money in clean-up and repair costs later.

2). Be friendly. Someone who gives the impression he or she is reluctant to give out candy could be a target. If you're the type of person who can't stand the doorbell ringing all night, ask a relative or friend who enjoys giving out candy to attend your home on Halloween evening.

3). Don't leave your home vacant. A vacant home could be a defenseless target. Don't take a chance on having your home destroyed or defaced. If you must be away this Halloween, make sure all your window and door locks are secured. And if you own a burglar alarm, make sure you use it.

4). Light up everything. Vandals and pranksters have one thing in common: they don't like standing in the spotlight. A well-lit property has a smaller chance of getting attacked not only on Halloween but any time of the year.

5). Meet your trick-or-treaters outside. If the weather permits, why not meet your guests outside this Halloween? Invite a couple of friends over for a social evening while giving out candy. A physical presence is a good way to keep troublemakers at bay.

6). Don't leave things sitting outside. Tidy up your yard before the sun sets on Halloween night. Items like tools, ladders, bikes, tables, chairs and lawn ornaments – eliminate temptation by locking them up.

7). Tape your mail slot shut. If your mail slot is in your door or enters into your home, make sure you tape it shut with duct tape for the evening. This will prevent anyone from slipping trash or smoke bombs into your home.

8). Keep your pets inside. It's hard to believe, but some people actually get a thrill out of tormenting or harassing pets on Halloween. Your pets are family, too, and need to be kept in a safe place inside your home.

9). Set up a street patrol. A small group of neighbors walking the neighborhood can go a long way toward making sure homes and families are kept safe.

10). Leave your pumpkin inside. Place your pumpkin on an inside window ledge. Don't place it outside because it becomes too much of a temptation for pumpkin smashers

Frank Fourchalk is a home security expert with 25 years in the business. E-mail him at Fourchalk@shaw.ca or visit www.yourhomesecurity.ca

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