Top tips for keeping your home secure over the Christmas period
Christmas is a time when many of us stock up our homes with all manner of valuable goods such as electronic gadgets, computers, and jewellery. This makes it a boom time for retailers, but unfortunately it also presents a golden opportunity for burglars. That’s why it is important to be especially careful about your home security over the Christmas period, especially if the home will be left unoccupied while you are out visiting relatives and friends.
One effective way to deter burglars is to invest in devices such as motion sensor flood-lights or outdoor Christmas lights. Burglars tend to go for soft targets wherever possible, and outdoor lighting can make your home too conspicuous to approach for an opportunist thief. If you do opt for outdoor Christmas lights, you should avoid making the mistake of powering them from the mains by feeding extensions through partially opened windows, as a seasoned burglar will know to look out for this vulnerability. Instead, use battery or solar powered lights, or if necessary install outdoor electrical outlets.
Discarded gift packaging can alert thieves to the presence of valuable goods in your home, so it is wise to be careful about how you dispose of this. Remember that refuse collections over the festive season often occur at different times, so if you can’t take the packaging to a recycling point, be sure to fold boxes as best as you can and put them out just before they are due to be collected. Because thieves tend to pay particular attention to the contents of bins around this time of year, you also need to be careful about disposing of receipts and personal paperwork. Anything that contains sensitive material should be shredded before disposing of it, although you need to be careful not to shred any important warranty details, and that you keep these documents stored somewhere secure.
Although most people are careful to ensure that their doors are securely locked when they are out of the home, the same attention is not always given to windows. You can make a huge improvement to the security of your home by installing dead bolts and new window hinges, and this need not be expensive. As well as making sure that the windows are secured, you should also be sure to close curtains, drapes, and blinds whenever you turn on your indoor lights, as this will prevent burglars from seeing the contents of your home.
Burglars are much more likely to rob a property that looks unoccupied. However, it is relatively easy to create the illusion that there are people in a home when it is empty with a few inexpensive electric timers to turn lights and radios on and off at various intervals. If you are going away over Christmas, cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions and ask a neighbour to park in your driveway if you have one. Finally, if you have a land line, don’t leave messages on your answering machine that reveal that you are away over Christmas, as burglars have been known to make anonymous phone calls in order to help them decide which homes to target in a certain area.
This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).