“I have received the following message this morning, a timely reminder that the approach to Christmas is always, sadly, a risk period for break-ins:
“I thought you might like to circulate a warning to the community about being vigilant, security-conscious and keeping an eye open for strangers! Someone attempted to break into our house through the kitchen window on Sunday night, at about midnight. Very briefly – I was still awake, heard a noise, put on the lights and went downstairs which I think disturbed whoever it was and they’d already scarpered. They used the side gate to gain access. Thank goodness they didn’t actually get into the house. We reported it to the police who paid us a visit yesterday followed by a CSI.
“The following list of tips may be helpful:”
10 Tips to Beat the Burglar this Christmas & New Year
The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories is commonplace; unfortunately though it provides thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.
Read these tips to ensure your home is secure over Christmas and the New Year.
Deterring would-be criminals is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention. Invest in a motion sensor flood-light or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home’s exterior. This will hopefully make approaching your home too conspicuous for a burglar.
Get your possessions security marked (many companies offer this service) and then advertise the fact, as this provides a further warning that your goods are traceable and not worth the risk of stealing!
Photograph your valuables so that in the unfortunate event you do get burgled, your precious items will be easily shown to the police.
Festive lighting – be secure. A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.
Dispose of gift packaging carefully. Refuse collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times. If you can’t take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to break apart boxes so that they do not advertise the new contents of your home to thieves!
Be careful not to advertise your home to burglars on social media! According to one recent study, social media is a commonly used tool for scouting potential targets. Social media savvy families have a tendency to publish their whereabouts during the holiday season, including any vacation plans. This lets burglars know when your house is going to be empty. Uploaded photos of pricey Christmas gifts can also be a problem as it basically allows burglars to go shopping just by viewing your Facebook profile.
Check doors and windows for weak spots. Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window hinges will increase the security of your home.
Keep your curtains, drapes and window blinds closed at night, making sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.
Away over Christmas – plan ahead!! If you’re going away at Christmas be sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Do not leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages and again make use of light timers.
Secure garages & sheds. Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment – make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools.
Don’t hide keys & use alarms if you have them. Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbours. Many houses these days have alarms, but many are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home.
Report suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, for example if you see unrecognised vehicles or individuals behaving abnormally, appearing nosey or moving in a furtive manner.