Christmas brings excitement for many, both children and adults alike. The delights of festive foods, gift giving, and spending time with the family are the pinnacles of a great Christmas. But, unfortunately, Christmas is also a prosperous and joyous occasion for thieves across the globe.
Caught up in festive spirit many individuals and homeowners lose sense of keeping their homes and belongings secure. Subject to a higher than normal value of contents, thanks to a pile of gifts, gadgets, and jewellery our homes are a hotspot for burglar activity as we leave them unattended to enjoy parties and visit relatives. So rather than let your home become subject to a real life Grinch literally stealing Christmas, ensure your property, cars, and gifts are out of prying hands. Follow our top tips below:
The ‘Theftive’ Season
Last year, Christmas 2014, the average Briton spent approximately £350 each on gifts during the festive season. Additionally the Royal Mail said that they delivered 120million parcels throughout December; a 4% rise on the previous year. With statistics like that is it any wonder thieves take their chances?
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have dubbed this the ‘theftive’ season claiming that last Christmas alone they handled 10,000 burglary claims with payments amounting to 15 million pounds. This is approximately a 25% increase in theft claims over any other period throughout the year. Aviva, who have also undertaken 10 years of independent research suggests that thefts peak on 31st December when homes are 20% more likely to be broken into than any other day during the Christmas period.
Our Top 7 Tips
Despite insurance companies being in place to help you should theft occur, this simply isn’t enough. You are much better off ensuring that you take precautionary methods to avoid break-ins and therefore any associated stress.
Don’t Leave Notes to Couriers
With an influx In online shopping many of us will purchase Christmas gifts without even leaving the home. However, delivery is often inconvenient and parcels rarely arrive when you are home to collect them. But by no means should you leave a note on your front door explaining alternative delivery options because you are not home.
Firstly you are inviting thieves into your home as well as telling them where your parcel has been left. Ensure that you leave additional delivery information with the courier during initial purchase to avoid disaster.
Keep Items Hidden
This isn’t just for the sake of your children but to ensure that prying eyes aren’t aware of a growing pile of gifts. Whilst it is always nice to see presents under the tree, simply make sure that they aren’t visible through your windows and doors.
This doesn’t simply apply to the lead up to Christmas Day either. Ensure that you don’t advertise your new gadgets and expensive jewellery by leaving product boxes out on the streets after the big day either. Do your best to conceal these items by breaking down packaging and keeping out of sight.
Lots of families leave their homes empty during December as they visit friends and family up and down the country. Rather than leave your home looking obviously unoccupied you should take measures to ensure that your home continues to appear lived in. Buy light timers so that you living room lamps and hallway sconces turn on in the evenings and off in time for morning. You could even ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the property and open or close curtains for example.
We’d also suggest investing in a motion sensor flood-light that will be activated when anyone approaches your property. This is a great deterrent for when you are home and when you’re away putting burglars off coming near your home, let alone breaking in.
Secure Your Homes
Did you know that it only take 12 minutes for a thief to gain access to you home and walk off with your belongings? Therefore it is essential, not just at Christmas but all year round, to take methods to ensure that your home is secure. Security grilles are a fantastic option for many homes offering robust protection. Designed with anti-cut steel bars and mesh they are fitted over doors and windows to ward off criminals.
Have you checked your locks recently? Digital Locks are an excellent choice for quick and easy entry to your home. You will no longer need to worry about losing keys and the consequences which may follow thanks to the touch screen pin code entry providing ultimate security. You can even create a temporary code to give to other people, perhaps those checking in on your home when you’re away, and delete said code when it is no longer needed.
Avoid Answering Machine Advertising
Have you ever thought about how easy it is for potential burglars to scope out your home? Well, by simply peering through a window or taking a look at your letterbox emblazoned with your family name its an easy job. Upon finding your name they can find you in the directory and ring your house phone to confirm that no one is home. So certainly don’t leave a telephone message declaring to all those that ring that the family ‘are enjoying the Christmas season skiing in the heart of the Alps. See you all in 2 weeks’.
Secure Your Car
For those who venture to physical shops rather than surfing the web securing your car is a must. Leaving branded bags in clear view gives a whole new meaning to window shopping for thieves, so hide all purchases in the boot covered with a parcel shelf.
The same goes for packing your car in preparation for a family trip. Whilst doing it the night before to avoid early wake up calls might seem like a great option, you are inviting thieves in making you and your Christmas gifts an easy target. This might be especially true for cars with keyless entry. How often do you throw your keys on the side when walking through the front door? And how close is your car parked to your house? Such modern features are potentially hazardous when storing expensive goods in your car.
Keep Quiet on Social Media
Just as hundreds share beach photos in the summer months social media over sharing continues throughout December. Whilst a great source for keeping in contact with family and friends, checking in at airports, hotels, and sharing photos of your latest gift is a potential risk.
It is important to understand that power of such information as a quick social search can provide potential thieves with ideal homes to target. Whilst social network security is usually good, it is up to you as well to ensure that you don’t reveal information with personal details such as your home address. To understand the consequences of over sharing and how you can protect yourself online why not check out one of our recent blog posts; Could Social Media Sharing Lead to a Home Break In?
More Help and Advice
If you want to safeguard your home this festive season why not give our team a call on 0117 967 4994 and have a chat with our friendly and experienced team. We can assist you in finding the ideal solutions for you whether safes or locks. Alternatively you can find a wealth of information on our FAQ and Blog pages.