It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and while this means festive cheer for most, an increase in the number of break-ins can dramatically dampen the spirits of those affected.
Whether you’re out enjoying the celebrations or heading off for a few days to visit family, taking some simple steps to increase your home’s security can help ensure your Christmas remains merry.
Here are our top tips for keeping burglars at bay over the holidays:
- It seems obvious, but make sure all doors and windows are closed and securely locked. Around a fifth of burglars still gain entry through such oversights, and making time to do a quick check in the evenings and before leaving the house could prevent any opportunists finding a way in.
- An increasingly common motive for break-ins is to steal car keys. If you have a garage, you should always keep your car in it if possible. If not, keep car keys hidden – not on display by the front door.
- Assess the strength of your front and back doors – if they only have one lock and could be easily forced, consider getting an additional lock installed. This could also help reduce the cost of your home insurance.
- If you live in a flat, make sure the communal entry security system is in good working order. If it is faulty, speak to your factor or neighbours about getting it repaired. Have a word with neighbours and make sure they are only allowing people they know to access the building.
- Tell your neighbours you’ll be going away, and ask them to keep an eye on your home. If you have close friends or family living nearby, you could also ask them to pop in from time to time and check everything is in order.
- Whether hidden under a plant pot or hung on a string on the other side of the door, burglars know where to look for spare keys. Leave them with a trusted neighbour instead. Don’t leave spare keys sitting about inside your home either. If a burglar makes off with them you will have the added expense of changing all your locks.
- When leaving the house, try and hide valuable items like laptops and games from view – put them away or shut your blinds and curtains.
- The majority of burglars gain entry from the rear of the property, where there is less footfall and lighting – consider installing a motion sensor light at the back of your home to help deter them.
- While garden sheds are often the best place to store large gifts such as bikes, they are also a popular target for burglars for this very reason. Take steps to enhance the security of your garden shed with padlocks for doors and caging over windows, and avoid storing high-value gifts there if possible.
- If you are doing your Christmas shopping online and you won’t be at home for your delivery, get parcels delivered to your work address if possible, or instruct packages to be left with neighbours. Don’t take a chance on leaving them somewhere outside your house.