Six Home Alone mistakes to avoid if you don’t want to be burgled at Christmas

Will you be leaving your valuables ‘Home Alone’ this Christmas? Find out how to avoid attracting burglars by taking six lessons from the famous movie.

With the Christmas season upon us and families planning their trips, making sure homes are safe and secure is more important than ever, especially with the troubling uptick in break-ins lately. 

To offer a helping hand to homeowners, we asked the advice of Daniel Westhead, the Managing Director at SureSafe. In this article, he shares six some tips, taking lessons from the beloved Christmas movie Home Alone.

It turns out, the blunders the McAllisters made can teach us all a thing or two about keeping our homes safe from burglars!

Six Home Alone mistakes to avoid this Christmas

Here are six Home Alone blunders that you want to avoid if you don’t want to attract burglars while your home is empty.

1) Announcing travel plans

Home Alone blunder: Within the first 10 minutes of Home Alone, the McCallisters are openly discussing their travel plans. 

What to do instead: Refrain from sharing holiday plans on social media. This can include upcoming travel plans, boarding passes, and even sharing that you’re currently away from home. Only share upcoming travel plans with trusted friends, family, and neighbours.

2) Hiding spare keys outside

Home Alone blunder: It is implied that Kevin McCallister has easy access to a spare key to re-enter the house after his family leaves.

What to do instead: Instead of keeping a spare key outside and in an obvious place, such as under a planter, share with a trusted neighbour or use a combination lockbox. 

3) Leaving valuables in sight

Home Alone blunder: The McCallister house, with its lavish decorations and visible wealth, clearly shows there are valuables inside, which is likely what attracted the burglars in the first place.

What to do instead: Keep curtains and blinds drawn when away to prevent people from seeing inside your home. 

4) Poor lighting

Home Alone blunder: The house is initially left in complete darkness after the family leaves, which would typically be a sign that no one is home. 

What to do instead: Instead of leaving a house dark, use light timers to give the appearance of occupancy. Installing motion-activated outdoor lights can serve as a deterrent to would-be burglars scouting for unoccupied homes.

5) Failing to secure sliding doors, windows, garages and sheds

Home Alone blunder: Harry and Marv consistently test the home’s windows and doors, the typical entry points for break-ins. 

What to do instead: Lock all windows and doors, including sliding doors before leaving, and install secondary locking mechanisms such as security bars or pins for added protection. Garages and sheds should have good-quality locks and be part of a home security system, included in the alarm coverage. 

6) Allowing mail to pile up

Home Alone blunder: In the first film, the burglar posing as a cop notices the overflowing mailbox, a hint that nobody is home. 

What to do instead: Homeowners should request a hold on their mail and newspaper delivery while they are away or arrange for a neighbour to pick them up regularly. 

What to do if your home is broken into while you were away

If you return home and discover you were burgled while you were away, here’s what to do:

  • Notify the local authorities and backup digital evidence: Present any potential evidence, like security footage, to the police. Save copies of digital surveillance footage to a secure location and provide it to law enforcement as part of their investigation.
  • Check insurance coverage and credit card protections: Home or rental insurance might compensate for the theft if the stolen items were valuable. Many credit cards offer protection for purchases that include theft.
  • Cancel stolen credit and debit cards: Immediately contact the bank to report stolen cards to prevent unauthorized use.
  • Update locks and security systems: Replace locks and keys, and if necessary, upgrade the home security system to prevent future break-ins.
  • Communicate with your Neighbourhood Watch: Sharing information with neighbours or the neighbourhood watch can bolster community security and assist in finding the perpetrator.

Photo by Osman Rana