That’s right! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us again and with things being a bit more normal, you may be venturing on holiday or to family member’s houses for the big day. So, it’s a time that you need to be more vigilant about home security, especially if you are super organised and already have all your Christmas presents hidden away at home.
It’s not nice, but it’s not a surprise to know that the rate of burglaries does spike over the festive period, so check out our top Christmas Security Tips for 2021 below:
- Hide Presents Away
- Keep Quiet on Social Media
- Cyber Security
- Christmas Lights
- Don’t Leave Your Door Open for Santa
- Store Bins and Ladders Away from Your Property
- Hold your Mail if You’re Away on a Christmas Holiday
- Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
- Keep unwanted Reindeers away!
- Plan Ahead if You’re Going Away for Christmas Holiday
1. Hide Presents Away
Its best practice to not leave your valuables in sight of your windows all year round. But we would suggest holding off putting all your expertly wrapped Christmas presents under your tree for all to see. Now we understand the urge to show of your professional wrapping skills but try and hold off until the night before. Burglars like to be in and out of a house as quickly as possible so if your gifts are hidden away, they hopefully won’t have time to find them. Never leave your presents (or any valuables) in-view of the windows. Many chance burglars are tempted by the shimmering of the wrapping paper and it will instantly make your home a target.
A burglary infographic from Tesco Compare showed that the top 5 most stolen items included:
- Money (17%)
- Laptops (15%)
- Cameras and MP3 Players (13%)
- Jewellery and Watches (11%)
- Mobile Phones (6%)
2. Keep Quiet on Social Media
We all like to post pictures of our homes looking festive and full of gifts, or even show off what our families have given us. However, its surprisingly easy for a burglar to track down where you live, if they see something they want to steal on your social media. Realistically we know that people are going to post lots of pictures of Christmas, so if you are one of these people, review your privacy settings on all your social media platforms. Make sure you are set to private and that you know everyone that is on your friends lists, get rid of anyone you aren’t sure you know.
3. Cyber Security
It’s not just the presents you need to be aware of at this time of year, it’s also your online transactions. Online scammers know that people do a lot of Christmas shopping online and can target you to steal your bank details. You could see more dodgy looking mails in your inbox offering you discounts or links to cheap websites, but you need to make sure you are shopping securely.
One thing you can look out for is that the website the correct web address. To be sure that you are on a secure website, look for a web address that starts https:// rather than http://. The ‘S’ means it’s usually secure. Never open an attachment from an email address you don’t recognise and is very important to remember that when shopping online that you should NEVER be asked for your pin number.
4. Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are one of the best things about Christmas, seeing all the houses looking festive on the way home from work should perk you up! However, if you are planning on decorating your own home with Christmas lights, then make sure you don’t leave a window open to do so. A burglar will be looking out for things like this to gain entry to your home. If wires are going to cause you an issue, then you could always use solar powered Christmas lights, these will also save you money of electricity as well!
We also recommend that it’s a good idea to leave a light on or on a timer, especially during the Holiday season when you’re more likely to be out Christmas shopping or attending a party! Leaving a television or radio on is also a good alternative to leaving the lights on.
As the Holidays approach many of us will be out of the house for long periods of time whether that’s for at an office party or simply doing the Christmas shopping. Outdoor lights are extremely useful both for returning home late at night and for deterring burglars.
5. Don’t Leave Your Door Open for Santa
We know you hear this a lot, but it’s important that you don’t leave your doors unlocked, whether going out, at night or even just when you are pottering around at home. Most burglaries are unplanned and if you have an open door, an intruder won’t hesitate to enter. If a burglar does gain access through an unlocked door, then you might find your home insurance policy is invalidated!
Hertfordshire Constabulary recommends by shutting and locking any gates and making sure you lock away any garden tools as these can be used by burglars to break in.
A survey by MoneySupermarket.com showed that the average value of a British garden’s contents was £1,457, this included garden tools, lawnmowers, patio furniture and barbecues. All these items are easy pickings for an opportunistic burglar, so lock them away!
6. Store Bins and Ladders Away from You’re Property
Don’t give a burglar a leg up! The majority of leading home insurance providers will recommend that it is always a good idea to lock up anything that can be used by a burglar to gain entry to a first-floor window or climb over a fence i.e. wheelie bins and ladders.
Home insurance provider Saga advises that all ladders should be securely locked away in a garage or shed. If you are using a garage or shed with windows to store anything that can be used by a burglar to gain entry it is also good to have curtains fitted to stop anyone from seeing in!
7. Hold your Mail if You’re Away on a Christmas Holiday
If you are going to be away for a long period of time, ask Royal Mail to hold your mail – they will do this for up to 2 months. We always recommend getting the Royal Mail to hold your letters to prevent them from piling up reducing the likelihood of a burglar knowing you’re away.
The Royal Mail operates a Keepsafe® service that consists of the Royal Mail holding onto any parcels and letters whilst you’re away for up to 100 days and will deliver them to your home once you have returned.
This is supported by The Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee as it reduces the risk of identity fraud when you are on Holiday as the service ensures that you do not leave any obvious clues to your absence such as a mountain of letters piled up on your doormat.
8. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Neighbourhood Watch works to bring neighbours together who want to look out for each other, creating strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behaviour is less likely to happen. Find out about your local Neighbourhood Watch, or get information on how to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme now.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area and are going away for Christmas, tell a trusted neighbour so they can keep an eye on your property.
9. Keep unwanted Reindeers away!
It’s always a good idea to have a spy hole or door chain fitted to
10. Plan Ahead if you are Going Away for Christmas
If you know that you are going to be away over the Christmas period then there are a few things you can do help prevent your home becoming a target.
Make sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions – nothing tells a burglar a house is empty more than built up newspapers and several bottles of untouched milk. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, you could ask them to leave a car in your drive to give the allusion someone is at the property and ask them to check in on your home sporadically, picking up any mail or parcels that might have come through.
To help protect your home whilst away you could also:
- Consider installing a security alarm with a siren which can alert neighbours if someone tries to force entry to your home.
- Install indoor and outdoor smart security cameras. You can usually access smart security cameras anywhere you are and with some models can even be notified if a parcel is left on your door step. With a smart security camera, you can not only keep an eye on your home, ask a neighbour to pick up a newly delivered parcel and feel more secure but the physical presence of a camera makes your home a less attractive target to burglars.
- Install an automatic light switch timer or smart timer to randomly turn lights on and off. Burglars can sometimes watch a house to see if anyone is home or if the property is currently vacated but one way you fool them is to have a few random lights throughout the home on a timer which will come on and off to give the illusion that someone is home.
There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves giving you a stress-free Christmas. Hiring a professional Locksmith is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant.
Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away. Talk to the Locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing such as a garage, gate, or shed as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every job.
We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas 2021. If you liked this blog why not check out our others including our Top Ten Security Checklist