As the countdown to Christmas starts, make sure your home is secure to stop any unwanted visitors this season.
There are lots of ways you can prevent a break in this Winter – take a read of our tips to help keep your home safe.
Don’t leave gifts on show
Avoid putting presents where they can be seen from outside, even wrapped gifts. Leaving valuables in full view is showing opportunist burglars exactly what they could get their hands on. Keep gifts away from windows and common hiding places. It is also a good idea to keep any receipts in a separate safe place so burglars cannot claim ownership or return items.
Disguise items in your car
It is not just gifts in your home you should keep out of clear view. When out shopping, make sure you do not advertise any valuable contents in your car. Keep items in the boot or covered up.
Leave lights on
Over Christmas time we tend to spend more time and social functions and visiting family and friends. This leaves our houses empty more often, so try your best to make your home look as if someone is home. On long dark evenings it can be very obvious if you have not yet returned home. Leaving some lights on can be a quick fix and trick a would-be-burglar passing by.
Most people remember to lock their doors, but remember to also secure your windows. A large number of break ins occur through unlocked windows and doors with no forced entry.
Set your alarm
Make sure your burglar alarm is set when you leave your home and when you go to bed. A burglar alarm is a deterrent to burglars who are more likely to target a less secure home. If you do not have a home alarm, now is a good time to invest. It could be easier than you think to get one installed quickly and cleanly.
Online shopping is very popular for Christmas shopping, but be aware of having deliveries left unattended outside your home. Make sure any deliveries are left with a neighbour or brought to a depot. “Safe Places” are often still accessible by strangers, so if you are not at home to receive your parcels, have a secure plan in place. Packages outside are also a sign that your home is empty.
Don’t leave empty boxes outside your home
The same rule applies for empty packaging after Christmas. A big TV box or laptop packaging lets burglars know exactly which new items you have in your home. Don’t advertise your valuable, dispose of your packaging carefully.
Be cautious of social media
Just as it is important not to advertise your valuables with empty packaging, be careful not to advertise your new gadgets on social media either. Social media can also let burglars know if families are away from home, so be aware about the amount of information you publish to the world.
Mark your belongings
It is good practise to make a note of serial numbers of your belongings and mark them with your postcode or contact details. This can help to track them down if they are stolen and can also make them less desirable to burglars as markings will make them more difficult to sell on.
Secure garages and shed
Garages and sheds tend to be used less in the winter months, so be sure they are left secure. Expensive power tools or sports equipment could be a target to burglars. Tools may also be used to gain access to your home if they are not property locked away.
Don’t hide spare keys outside
With many people coming and going it can be tempting to leave a spare key outside for someone coming in from a late night. Leaving keys to your home that are accessible to everyone is a very high risk, no matter how well hidden you think they may be. If you must leave a key outside your home, a lock safe is a less risky option. It is much better not to leave a key out at all.