Holiday home security: The best defense is a good offense

As the holidays approach, its time to start thinking about how to secure your homes from thefts. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Police are warning homeowners to safeguard their property during the holiday season.

Last year, the Bakersfield Police Department received 197 reports of home break-ins in November and 175 in December. In 2015, the department received 220 reports in November and 177 in December.

"We do see consistent spikes when people are prone to being on vacation," Community Relations Specialist Rachel Rivera said. "Criminals are really opportunists. They’re going to pay attention to when people’s homes are vacant. They’re going to see whose homes easiest to break into."

Even for homeowners who don't take long holiday time off, such as Nick Ellis of southwest Bakersfield, the holiday season is a time of raised alertness to crime.

"If you're not being proactive about solving these problems, you're going to have a problem eventually," Ellis said. "It's going to happen."

Roommates Stephanie Malivuk, Allyssa Schoderer and Zhanelle Davis said they plan to take time off for the holidays, but they secure their home by making sure someone is always present.

"We all know at the end of the day we have each other, and we're like, 'There's nobody that can get through that door that can get through all three of us,' so we're good," Davis said.

Police recommend homeowners begin preparing their homes as early as possible for security. Here are some tips:

  • Leave holiday gifts out of plain sight from windows.
  • Ask the post office to hold mail while gone.
  • Always lock doors and windows.
  • Have good home lighting, preferably motion-censor lighting.
  • Install a recording system. Even cheap ones can be effective.

For information on telephone crime reporting in Bakersfield city limits, click here.

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