Going away for Christmas? How to secure your home
Christmas is a time of merriment and cheer. But, unfortunately, the festive period also tends to see a spike in home burglaries. According to figures, break-ins are 43% more likely to happen during November and December.
Thieves are after pricey presents and a house that looks unoccupied can be particularly tempting. So, if you’re going away over the Christmas break, it’s really important to bolster your home’s security before you leave. Here are some useful tips:
1. Make your home look lived in
Give the impression that someone’s in (even when they’re not) with timers that will turn your lights on automatically during the evenings. It’s also worth asking a trusted neighbour to draw and open your curtains while you are away, gather any newspapers or flyers stuffed through your letterbox and generally keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour.
2. Hide valuables and gifts
Ensure that presents - as well as any valuables like laptops and tablets - are hidden from view so they can’t be seen from windows and doors. Remember: packaging is a giveaway and can show opportunistic thieves the presents you might have stashed away indoors, so take any cardboard boxes to the recycling point before you go away.
3. Be careful what you share
You’re excited about your trip, but posting about it on social media is basically an open invitation for burglars. Even if your accounts are set to private, you can never be entirely sure who sees what - so save uploading any photos until you get back home.
4. Don’t leave notes
Don’t leave a note telling couriers you’re away on your front door. Instead, leave instructions for couriers in the ‘special requirements’ section when ordering items online.
5. Install the GP Safeguard
Light acts as a great deterrent, so consider installing the GP Safeguard on a wall outside your home. The Safeguard is battery-powered and activated by movement; if a burglar were to approach your home, the LED would illuminate the space in a bright light. That’s enough to put any thief off from targeting your property. Check out our handy infographic to see the many benefits of installing a Safeguard here.
6. Don’t change your answer machine message
If you have an answering machine, leave the message as it is. If you change it to “We’re away over Christmas,” it could be heard by the wrong person. Likewise, ensure there’s nothing outside or on show indoors giving away your family name – unless you are ex-directory, criminals can use your surname to get your telephone number and then call to check if you’re in.
7. Double check windows, doors and alarms
Just before you leave, check that all windows and doors are locked - and then check again! Make sure you also test your burglar alarm to see if it’s in good working order. Never leave the spare key in an obvious place like under a plant pot or doormat; deliver it personally to a friend or trusted neighbour instead.
By following these tips, you can rest assured that your home is well protected this Christmas, leaving you to relax, unwind and enjoy your festive break!