Christmas is a risky time of year when it comes to burglaries and break-ins, with claims against home insurance policies soaring in the ‘darker months’ of the year. People vacating their home to visit family and friends can give the green light to intruders.
Some hotspot communities are even preparing for the ‘Christmas spike’ in burglaries, with police handing out Christmas crime menus with tips and tricks on how to combat crime.
With this in mind, Keys 4 U has put together its own tips for keeping your home secure over the Christmas period.
Pet door protection
Believe it or not, doggy doors and cat flaps can be used as an entry point for burglars. They’re seen as a weak point in the door and larger models can even be crawled through.
Although CCTV is a proven deterrent, burglars will likely be scouting out your home for a while, looking for patterns of behaviour and potential hiding places like bushes or dark areas.
Around Christmas time they’ll also be looking for cars missing from the drive as a sign of an empty home.
Investing in alarms and motion sensors around dark or covered areas around your home will put off burglars – and they’re worth the investment considering the average cost suffered from a burglary is £3,030.
Combatting car theft
Car theft increased 9 percent in 2018, which the AA deemed “very worrying”. And with people busy shopping for gifts over Christmas, and some even hiding them from loved ones in the car, they’re an even more valuable target.
Never leave your vehicle unattended with your Christmas goodies inside and always park in a well-lit area or a driveway to discourage opportunist thieves.
Frosty mornings often see drivers leave their engine on to defrost the car. You shouldn’t leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition as you’re inviting criminals to drive away with it. Plus, your insurance policy may void your cover if you do.
Stay hot on home security
Intruders are finding new ways of breaking in, with reported cases of criminals using blowtorches to simply melt locks off doors, windows and sheds.
Burglars in Bradford used this exact technique and managed to steal the keys to a £30,000 car.
It’s a threat for homeowners, leaving no evidence and in some cases completely destroying any proof of a lock.
While it’s difficult to completely prepare for such extreme attempts, make sure to replace any outdated home locks and consider fitting wood or steel composite doors which won’t melt away.
It’s also recommended to leave car keys downstairs and away from your person for your safety if intruders get inside looking for them.
ID your belongings
Personalised items are a nightmare for burglars. Customised engravings and labels on property make it harder for thieves to sell-on the goods. Plus, they’re easier for the police to identify.
Where possible, consider personalising valuables with your name, telephone number or address. This will make it harder for burglars to get a good price for it and also help the items get returned to you if found.
Services like Immobilise also let you register your valuable belongings on a database, helping the authorities return them to you if found.
Join a Neighbourhood Watch
Watch schemes are an effective way of encouraging neighbours to look out for each other and keep the community safe.
If you’re going away over Christmas, ask trusted neighbours to keep an eye on your home. This can be as simple as asking them to move any mail out of sight of windows and turn on a light in the evenings to disguise that the house is empty.
Not only are Neighbourhood Watch schemes proven to reduce crime by up to 26 percent but some home insurance providers will even offer you a discounted quote if you’re signed up to a local scheme – handy when it comes to saving up for presents.