Tips for a Safe & Secure Christmas

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For the vast majority of us. the Christmas season is a time for getting together with families and friends. For a dishonest few, however, it's also a season of criminal opportunity. Homes are left unoccupied, expensive presents are often left for the taking and with a sense of wellbeing & Christmas cheer, your guard may well be down.

Unfortunately Christmas traditionally sees an increase in burglaries, is the busiest time in the burglar's calender. The reasons why the holiday season is such a bumper time for rich pickings are straightforward says Roy Emslie, crime prevention officer with the Metropolitan Police. Properties are, quite simply, more vulnerable at this time of year. Homes are left empty more frequently, add to that the rich pickings of all the presents ready under the tree and suddenly it really is like Christmas came early for the burglar!

Don't panic! There are many ways to ensure that you do not become a victim:

  • Keep your home protected at all times whether you’re there or not with a home security alarm. Government statistics show that a clear majority of burglaries attempted on homes fitted with an alarm are unsuccessful. They do act as a crucial visual deterrent.
  • If you don’t have a Home CCTV System to monitor what’s going out outisde, then use heat- or movement-sensitive exterior security lighting to deter would-be burglars from hiding in wait near your property and interior automatic timer-switches to make sure your home always has signs of life to it. The latter can be used to operate either lamps or radios so that it looks and sounds as if someone may be inside. Most thieves would rather move along than take the chance.
  • Don’t leave presents under the Christmas tree until Christmas Day. If you really have nowhere else to put them, then keep the Christmas tree away from windows so passers-by can’t see your festive booty. A recent post here reported on the thousands of pounds of electrical equipment left in full view of the street, Christmas gifts will only make the opportunity seem even more inviting.
  • After Christmas presents have been opened, don’t leave discarded boxes outside whilst you wait for the bin men. Over the holiday periods, collection schedules are all out of kilter and those bits of branded cardboard can be sitting on your doorstep for days, easily visibile for potential criminals to spot. You will simply be advertising what there is to take. January is a prime month for domestic burglaries, so don’t make it any easier for thieves. If you don’t have space to put them in a garage or shed, then at least fold them up flat so that the labelling is not visible on the outside. Better still, tie them together in that fashion so that it takes more than a cursory glance to assess what the packaging may have contained.
  • Locks, locks, and more locks – Ground floor windows are attractive to criminals, they want an easy way in, windows can offer that. Make sure your downstairs windows, and any windows that can be accessed from a flat surface, like a porch or extension roof, are fitted with visible key-operated locks and are covered by your Home CCTV System. Similarly with doors, triple lock ideally, top, bottom and middle. That way your door won’t have any ‘give’ if kicked.

No property is immune from the threat of burglary, but, as many of those who experience a burglary realise in retrospect, there is usually scope for making it more difficult for a would-be burglar to get the chance to spoil what should be nothing less than a joyful time.

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