Nextdoor survey finds Americans put their homes at risk during the holiday season

More Than Half of Americans Don’t Follow Common Safety Precautions to Protect Their Homes from Theft and Nearly Half Don’t Follow Fire Safety Precautions

San Francisco, California, November 20, 2012 – With winter holidays seeing the heaviest spike in travel for the year, many Americans prepare to avoid or handle expected headaches like airport traffic, flight delays and soaring hotel costs. But a new survey from Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighborhoods, shows that most people aren’t taking proper precautions to protect their homes from fire and burglary.

According to the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive from November 6-8, 2012 among 1,910 U.S. adults aged 23 and over, nearly 60 percent don’t follow common safety precautions to protect their home from theft including: 38 percent do not tell a neighbor they’re going out of town, 19 percent leave their house key in a nearby hiding place while they’re away, 12 percent let mail and newspapers pile up, 10 percent broadcast that they are out of town on Twitter and Facebook, 8 percent even leave a door or window unlocked.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that 92 million people traveled during the holidays last year, making it one of the leading causes for home burglaries[1]. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), nearly 400,000 burglaries occurred last November and December alone.[2]

But even when Americans aren’t traveling during the holidays, many are putting themselves and their homes at risk for other problems, like a house fire. Nextdoor’s survey found that 84 percent of Americans decorate their homes. Yet the survey found that nearly 50 percent of Americans aged 23 and over engaged in decorating habits that increase home fire danger including: 34 percent connect multiple extension cords together, 16 percent put up holiday lights without inspecting them for frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections, 9 percent let their tree dry out after it is decorated in the home, 9 percent have lit a fire without an annual chimney inspection, and 5 percent have left a burning candle unattended.

“We commissioned this survey to help neighbors everywhere create safer places to call home this holiday season,” said Nirav Tolia, Co-Founder and CEO of Nextdoor. “Nearly a third of Americans know none of their neighbors by name, and Nextdoor is using technology to change that. We know that neighbors who know each other, look out for each other, and can possibly help prevent some of the dangers that come with the holidays.”

Over 6,000 neighborhoods across the country are using Nextdoor to create private websites so they can easily connect with each other about the things that matter. Neighbors are using Nextdoor to connect about everyday things, like finding a great dentist or plumber recommendation – to more personal things, like finding a lost pet, or to ask their neighbor to look out for their home while they are out of town – and even more critical things, like learning about a rash of break-ins or suspicious activity.

“We are always looking for ways for neighbors to heighten their awareness and safety in their neighborhoods. We have been impressed by how Nextdoor is helping our residents become more alert and mindful neighbors,” said Assistant Police Chief Quinn Fenwick with the Ventura Police Department, who started using Nextdoor to promote a virtual Neighborhood Watch program in April 2012.

This Nextdoor survey is the third in a series chronicling “The State of the American Neighborhood.” To view a list of holiday safety tips from State Farm Insurance click here and to view a list of useful tips to decrease home fire dangers from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) click here. For more information about the survey and how to connect with your neighbors, visit

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States from November 6-8, 2012, among 1,910 adults (aged 23 and over) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nextdoor. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.



About, Inc.
Nextdoor ( is a private social network for the neighborhood. Using Nextdoor’s free online platform, neighbors create private neighborhood websites where members can ask questions, get to know one another and exchange local advice and recommendations. Nextdoor is specifically designed to provide a trusted environment for neighbor-to-neighbor communication. Neighborhoods across the country are using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

Based in San Francisco, California, Nextdoor was founded in 2010 by Internet veterans who have spent their careers creating thriving online communities.