This is the header image for the BPS Security article titled, “Holiday Decoration Safety Tips”.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

When we hear about holiday decoration safety tips, especially in December, we often hear about fire prevention and/or choking, tripping, and falling hazards. Though those can create some serious problems, holiday decorations can cause another major safety problem — in security, we refer to this as “landscape design”.

In a nutshell, criminals who want to vandalize/hide/rob (or more) an office, business, or home will often look for, and use, physical attributes that provide low visibility. Throughout the year (not during the holidays), common physical attributes include poorly placed:

  • Trees, bushes, and other plants
  • Sculptures or water fixtures
  • Intricate landscaping
  • Other buildings or large fixtures (such as, but not limited to, gazebos)

Now, is it smart to eliminate the physical attributes listed above? Absolutely not! In fact, doing so can actually lure criminals in by misleading them into thinking the office/company/home is uncared for. That said, the key here is to think critically when placing physical attributes!

Pro Tip: The appearance of a building can transform opportunity in the eyes of an intruder. An abandoned and disheveled space, trash, graffiti, etc will drive away legitimate prospective clients, and encourage intruders to approach with boldness.

Decoration Safety Tips for the Exterior of Office or Company

In most cases, offices and companies will have a surveillance system. (If yours does not, call us immediately. When implementing security after an incident has occured, regardless of the company, the rate will increase due to the increased liability). So, the trick when placing holiday decorations is to not obstruct the view of the surveillance system. OR, if an item (say a large inflatable Santa Clause) obstructs the view on one camera, be sure that a second or third camera can clearly see the obstructed view.

Christmas Lights

This is an image captured from a security camera at night, and how poorly it can see past lights. This image is used in the BPS Security article titled, “Holiday Decoration Safety Tips”.
Photo Credit: Network Camera Tech

When placing Christmas lights, make sure the glare doesn’t ruin the view of the security cameras! Sure the lights themselves may be tiny, but when clustered together, they can be bright! No, this does not mean that you should avoid hanging Christmas lights! Just make sure you are not obstructing the view of your security camera, and if one is, make sure the others are not.

The other option is to install a better camera! Some cameras do not perform well in the dark when there are any lights present. Whereas, some can still work well regardless of the presence of lights.

Nativity Scenes, Inflatables, Figurines - Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

This is an image showing a Nativity scene that is staged outside of a house. This image is used in the BPS Security article titled, “Holiday Decoration Safety Tips”.
Photo Credit: “Gifts With Love”

Sure! Elegant Nativity scenes may be beautiful, but they definitely create ideal places for criminals to hide. (Especially since they have multiple items placed together, and sometimes, even have a miniature building.) Similarly, large inflatables and figurines can easily block views of cameras. Seriously, some of these are 10 ft. long… or longer!

Again, the way to combat this while still celebrating your creative genius is to place the items strategically! We cannot say this enough — make sure they do not obstruct the view of every camera!

Decoration Safety Tips for a Home

When it comes to a home, the same concept applies here as it does with an office or company. The key is to avoid creating spaces where criminals can easily hide. However, this is often a bit trickier with homes simply due to the type of surveillance systems that are commonly used for private residences. There is often only one camera (if any at all) and if there are multiple, they are usually installed on the house looking outwards. Therefore, it would be easy for a criminal to locate the camera, and approach a home while staying hidden by using all the holiday decorations to their advantage.

When a home does not have a surveillance system, holiday decorations can easily become a physical attribute that a criminal can use to remain undetected while on your property (or going towards/escaping from a neighbors property). Think about it, you might look outside a window and “see nothing”, but a criminal could easily be hiding behind a decoration… and you will have no idea.

Final Thoughts

When decorating for the holidays, just be thoughtful about where you are placing your decorations! Additionally, stay alert! That said, do decorate (if that is what you love to do!) and have a happy holiday season!
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