Security Tips for the Festive Season
There’s so much to love about the festive season; however, the rise in criminal activities at this special time of year is something that none of us are particularly fond of. The good news is that, by following a few key steps, you can ensure that your home is safe and secure – meaning that you can enjoy your Christmas vacation free from worry.
Security Tip #1: Get to Know Your Neighbours
Forget fancy alarms or bars on your windows: a strong local community can be the best protection against break-ins. If you’re all looking out for each other, it’s all the more easy to spot when something is amiss. So let your neighbours know if you’re going away, and consider setting up an informal neighbourhood group – on WhatsApp or similar – so you can all keep in touch, and keep each other up to date over Christmas.
Security Tip #2: Check Your Locks
Over a third of thieves gain entry to a home via a forced door – so it’s time to check your locks. Are they functioning as they should, and are they up to date? And old-fashioned or flimsy lock could be the perfect weak spot for a burglar. Once you’re confident that your locks are up to scratch, be sure to use them: shut all windows and doors and make sure they’re securely locked (rather than just being pulled close). Consider sealing up cat flaps and dog flaps, too: they might be small, but burglars are finding more and more ingenious ways of entering homes without causing lots of damage.
Security Tip #3: Consider Visual Deterrents
Though you might not wish to go as far as installing bars over your windows, there are a few things you can add to your home to make it appear more secure. Burglars don’t always plan crimes in advance, after all: if they see a house in darkness and think it’s an easy target, they might decide to try their luck. Decoy cameras, alarm boxes and automatic lights can be effective when it comes to deterring opportunistic thieves.
Security Tip #4: Be Discreet
Though the sight of a Christmas tree surrounded by beautifully-wrapped gifts is quite magical, it can also be an invitation to thieves. If you can, resist the urge to have your gifts on display until Christmas morning; or, at the very least, draw curtains and blinds as much as you can.
Be covert when it comes to disposing of rubbish, too: if you’ve splashed out on a fancy TV or new games console, resist the temptation to simply fold up the packaging and stow it outside in your recycling bins. Instead, take it straight to the dump. Homes are often targeted due to the amount of perceived wealth inside, and if a burglar spots a cardboard box advertising a high-tech bit of kit outside your home, they might be more tempted to break in.
Security Tip #5: Disguise Your Absences
Whether you’re celebrating Christmas abroad or simply planning lots of visits to family and friends, the festive season tends to be a busy time – so you might find yourself spending more time away from home than usual. It’s important to be more vigilant than ever about not advertising your absence.
There are a few clever ways to do this. First, ask a neighbour if they will take out your bins or bring them back inside after they’ve been emptied – empty bins outside your house can be a real giveaway. Consider investing in lights that can be operated by a timer, and also turn off the ringtone on your landline (or drop the volume) so that it’s not obvious if calls aren’t being answered. Remember to cancel regular newspaper or milk deliveries, too, and if you have an outside mailbox, ask a neighbour to empty it for you.
Security Tip #6: Don’t Forget Social Media...
It can be tempting to publish posts and images about all the lovely things you’re doing over Christmas, but take care not to make it obvious when you’re away from home. Burglars increasingly look online to try to find out if a house is vacant – and the information can be easier to find than you think!
Bonus Tip: Going Away? Let Out Your Home!
Empty homes are quite obvious at this time of year: when night falls, most homes are bustling and well-lit, with twinkling lights and Christmas trees visible from the outside. It's no wonder, then, that burgulary rates rocket over the festive period. If you're concerned that your home will be empty over the holidays, making it a prime target for burglars, why not consider a short-term let? Our homeowners love the security of having their home lived in by other people whilst they’re away - not only is this an effortless way to earn extra income, it also prevents their home from standing out from the crowd.