Some homeowners take security concerns for granted during the winter months, convinced that the cold weather will be enough to deter criminals. Unfortunately, that longtime maxim doesn't reflect reality. According to The Huffington Post, a study released by the Detroit Police Department indicates that numerous inches of snowfall do little to impact the crime rate – in some instances, harsh winter weather actually seemed to encourage more violent crime than it prevented. Regardless of its effect on the crime rate, cold weather can contribute to security failures around the home. Taking the time to read up on winter security strategies can help prevent your home from falling prey to a holiday season heist.
Plans for potential outages
One security risk posed by cold weather each year is unexpected power loss. Research performed by Climate Central reveals that weather-related outages have doubled since 2003. Nearly 60 percent of the country's blackouts are caused by weather, and the leading factor in those outages was cold weather. Preparing an outage kit, including rechargeable flashlights, a back-up generator and a portable heat source, is a great way to ensure your family stays safe all winter. You can also prepare for worst case scenarios by working with a home security provider that offers mobile access – this feature provides your family with a direct line with emergency help at all times, even when the power in the home has gone out.
Switch out batteries on smoke detectors
Some of the biggest threats to the safety and security of your home come from the inside. Colder temperatures lead to greater use of water heaters and furnaces, and these combustion-driven appliances release harmful fumes into the home's breathing air if ventilation systems fall behind on maintenance. In a worst case scenario, your home's smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are your only defense against a dangerous build-up of a gas. Be sure to test the batteries on these life-saving devices before the season reaches its chilliest temperatures.
Turn weatherization into a security check
Ready.gov noted that weatherization is key to preventing heating costs for skyrocketing during the winter. In addition to keeping energy bills low, weatherization provides homeowners with a chance to inspect their home for security risks caused by cold weather. Windows, for instance, are a common target for maintenance when it comes to preventing drafts. Cold weather can also cause windows to warp, making them close improperly and leaving your home vulnerable to a break-in. Similarly, checking a water heater for potential ventilation issues also provides homeowners an opportunity to check basement pipes for leaks. By approaching weatherization with security concerns in mind, you can cut down on your chore list during the holiday season.
Keep an eye on the driveway
Home security during the winter isn't all about the home. Keeping an eye on the outdoors is another habit that helps homeowners during winter months. Many residents habitually let their vehicles "warm-up" in the morning, often leaving their keys in the vehicle while they fetch a forgotten item. In the seconds it takes you to go inside and grab your coffee, a thief could have easily made off with your vehicle. Modern cars and trucks are designed to make warming up the engine unnecessary, so there's no need to put your car at risk in the morning.
Burglars also pay attention to snowfall on driveways and sidewalks. Tons of snow build-up signals a home left vacant and acts as a welcoming sign to would-be robbers. Paying for a snow shoveling service while your family is away may be expensive, but a breaking and entering would likely take a much larger toll on your budget.