Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grinch steals holiday decorations Pranksters take lawn ornaments

He is an inflatable yard airblown decoration, 5 foot long monster on a motorcycle, Frankenstein the biker. He's over $100, (most of the good inflatable decorations are.) This one is weather resistant and has already received a five star rating from a customer. 

Halloween lawn decorations are becoming almost as popular as Christmas outdoor decorations.  Families, small businesses and groups put money and time into purchasing, storing, planning and assembling the displays.

The cost of running the light and animation shows can be expensive, too. They may be synced with music. What people do each year is impressive.

Do you decorate your home or business for the holidays? Do you like to drive around and look at the lights? 

Blow up decorations are popular for many holidays. They're also more and more popular for local vandals and pranksters. Each year we see news stories about vandalized and stolen yard displays, stolen characters from nativity scenes. Often the baby Jesus is stolen.

Have your items been passed down through the family as ours have been? Are they hand-made? Are they gifts? You could be talking hundreds of dollars if not thousands.

When it happens to us, it isn't so funny, even if the pieces end up later on a neighbor's lawn or if they are recovered some other way.  If your friends and neighbors have been hit you may want to consider protecting your property.

A quick online survey shows thieves' taking items from lawns while homeowners are at home. They may go right up onto the front porch. Items beyond just decorations are stolen.

What can you do to protect your property and/or
help in getting it back if stolen? 

Fill out a police report if you have something stolen:
We heard of people being brought up on misdemeanor larceny and grand theft charges.

Tell neighbors to be on the look-out

Install Security Cameras:
If by chance or design, home owners are first turning to their security cameras such as the Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Monitoring Camera to see who's in their yards with their decorations. Is your camera able to make out the person's car? Anything identifiable about the pranksters?  The Logitech Alert 700e Outdoor Add-On HD Security Camera w/Night Vision is on sale.

Think about where to install the small cameras:
At least one family has installed a security camera right inside their nativity because they've had thefts so many years in a row. 

Put a video on YouTube if you think it might help. Here's just one of them that out there: 

Add signs letting them know you have cameras:
It's suggested that maybe after hours, you post a sign letting it be known that security cameras are on your property. This will be easier to do than putting up signs after the fact, signs that say something like, We lost our decorations to thieves.

Watch what's happening:
From the security cameras: You may keep a browser window on your computer open to watch what's going on in your front yard. One person let us know that it's possible to hook a camera up to their Kindle Fire (With or without Special Offers) and see what's going on in your yard, too.

Turn on Security Lighting:
Along with security cameras, it helps to have security lighting. Try motion sensor lights. These are beneficial if guests are coming to your house or if anyone happens to be on your property. Even garden decorations may be at risk. 

Tie or chain the decorations down:
People have thwarted the thieves by having inflatables and other decorations tied down to the ground and having all of the decorations tied to one another. Some folks even chain the items down. Vandals may bring knives and other tools, especially when going after the inflatables. Once again always think of the safety of your own family and guests, also of people such as the mail carrier. Don't have cords and other things everywhere.

Duct Tape:
As 'bandaid'... This can at least temporarily get your inflatables in working order again. They sell red and green duck tape. If you can place it on the inside, it's less apt to show. Some folks are perfectly happy to let it show on the outside.

Put the most valuable, sentimental items closer to the house:
Some vandals and thieves are less likely to go up on your front porch or closer to your house.

Mini Waterproof GPS Tracker SOS Function,
Vehicle/Outdoors, Children,Seniors and Pets

Add GPS Devices:
A new high-tech way of catching the crooks is by placing GPS devices in or on some of the decorations. More than a few baby Jesus statues out there are implanted with GPS receivers. Even some that were chained down were stolen.

If you steal Jesus, you're may be tracked! Security companies will implant your Jesus with some type of GPS Tracking System so you may consider buying something yourself. 

They sell GPS devices for your car, even to keep track of your kids and your pets.  No one wants to pay to replace a 9' Grinch year after year! 

Have a neighborhood watch, watch out for one another:
The representative at one church said that they had people volunteer to take shifts sitting out by the nativity scene watching it all night to make sure no one stole or vandalized any decorations. That's nice of people to offer, but pretty sad that it's necessary.

Keep a record of what you have for Identification:
Police suggest keeping the boxes that the inflatables come in so you have a record of just what they looked like. Photos and videos of the decorations can help, too. 

Many of us have items that are home made, passed through the generations, items that were gifts from loved ones. We're less likely to have the boxes older items came in and they have more sentimental value.

Don't assume you know who is taking your decorations:
It isn't necessarily someone of a certain age group. Don't assume it's someone whose beliefs are different from yours. It could be the lady next door or the whole family across the street, including the parents. You just don't know until there's evidence. Some of the pranksters videotape themselves in the act. Some put those videos or video of themselves talking about it on YouTube. That's pretty helpful.

If you have an antique store or something similar, work with authorities if you notice someone's bringing in a lot of decorations.  

Don't let this dampen your spirits!
We decorate for our families and communities. Some of us raise money and get donations of toys for local hospitals and other charities. Don't let this ruin your fun and your traditions.

65ft Airblown Deluxe Christmas Pirate Ship Scene: This inflatable yard decoration lights up, Self-inflates in seconds, Includes everything needed for set-up and has a Weather-resistant design. Santa and the gang will be out there watching. :-)

A single mother had her lawn ornaments stolen. Someone suggested that the thieves may have been after some copper inside one of them? "Maybe they didn't have ornaments of their own?" She said she also tells her kids, "If  you can't afford it, you don't need it."

One homeowner said, in a TV interview right after having items stolen from his lawn, "I've got a ball bat and a machete and I told the police you won't have any problems finding them!"

Get that far out Frankenstein Biker
at the top of the page!

Outdoor Snow Image Projector There's a house in our neighborhood that does something like this. It looks like it's snowing. Really impressive

Christmas Lights Stringer Upper T-shirt
Christmas Lights Stringer Upper T-shirt 
Browse zazzle for a different shirt

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