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Making your home safer for Christmas

December is a joyous time, as we count down the days to Christmas in our cosy homes, waiting for the special day where we get to see the happy faces of our loved ones as they tear open presents that have been so thoughtfully picked.

Some of us spend all year looking for the perfect gifts for our relatives or friends, often spending huge amounts of money throughout the year. And unfortunately because of this, it’s also one of the favourite times of year for opportunistic criminals, in particular, house burglars.

It’s been suggested in recent statistics that around 450 burglaries take place each day during the two weeks either side of Christmas Day in the UK.

With Christmas trees sitting on top of copious amounts of presents, all glistening in their wrapping and so obviously on show, a potential burglar sees this as an irresistible invitation. So, how can we all make our homes safer for Christmas?

Deterring burglars at Christmas

Let’s start with some useful tips on how you can deter would-be thieves during the festive period.

  • Try leaving it until late as possible before you put all your presents under the Christmas tree. And make sure the ones that aren’t wrapped yet are nowhere on show and are kept well hidden. This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how easy it can be to forget when the allure of a complete Christmas tree beckons
  • If you have a burglar alarm system, you could have stickers on show to warn potential burglars that you’re protected, take our yard signs and window decals, for example
  • One of the strongest home intruder deterrents are outdoor cameras. A home security camera positioned outside with an outdoor kit can stop thieves in their tracks, knowing they’re on film
  • If you can, join a neighbourhood watch scheme so your area can benefit from deterring signs
  • If you have a dog, especially an intimidating one, put up warning signs to show you have one. A friendly reminder for those wishing to burgle your home that they’ll be greeted by a loyally protective animal goes a long way
  • How can you keep your Christmas presents safe?

    Picture the scene. You’re relaxing in your home, unwinding and looking at your lovely wrapped Christmas presents. The stress of finding those perfect, niche gifts for loved ones has gone away. They’re safe and sound, ready for the 25th December. But, unbeknownst to you, someone has walked past who has also got an eyeful of your Christmas present display. Someone who is on the lookout for homes to ransack. It’s time to be a bit more vigilant.

    Create more privacy

    When we spend time decorating our homes for Christmas, it’s normal to want to show them off, as we take pride in our creative efforts. But, if you have blinds, it may be best to use them during the day and night to create a bit more privacy. It’s the same for curtains, if you’re one of those households who like to leave them drawn, maybe even all throughout the night, now is the time to close them. Make it as difficult as possible for prying eyes. And if you have a beautiful tree at the window, just simply open blinds enough to show it off.

    Don’t leave any clues

    Make sure you’ve properly discarded the packaging of your newly-bought gifts. Don’t leave piles of branded boxes outside your home to show what kinds of goodies you have inside. Better yet, make sure you’re on top of your recycling. And when it comes to deliveries, do try and have an arrangement set up so that parcels aren’t left on doorsteps. You may have a shed, a trusted neighbour or porch for deliveries if nobody’s in. For many shopping sites, it will ask you to leave any notes for delivery drivers in case you’re not in.

    Have a monitored alarm system

    At Christmas time, homes can become a lot more vacated as people head to their relatives’ or friends’ homes for festive visits. A professionally monitored alarm system can help put your mind at ease, as wherever you are, it works. Here’s how:

  • It sends an alert if a sensor has been triggered or a break-in detected
  • From this, a security specialist on our end will call you instantly
  • Video footage will be reviewed to confirm if a break-in has occurred
  • Police will then receive a high-priority dispatch request for your property
  • This means you can rest more assured, knowing that your presents and home are more protected and that if anything happens, when you’re away, it’s taken care of.

    Capture Christmas thieves clearly

    If the worst should happen, and a burglar does break into your home, you want to be able to capture footage and give as much evidence to the police as possible. That’s where home security cameras come in.

    Linked cleverly to smartphones, tablets and computers, you can view live streaming of your home 24/7, wherever you are. And if any motion sensors are triggered (only detecting humans), you’ll get alerts instantly so action can be taken. With recording options, you can download and share vital clips to pass onto police for investigating, so they can work to get your presents back!

    But don’t worry, Santa’s magic means he’ll never trigger any of your alarms (he’s the only intruder we like), but you may be able to catch him with a Santa cam! See how you can turn your home security into a Santa cam.

    Secure your vehicles and driveways

    Whether it’s the lead-up to Christmas or the following week, it’s important to always remember to hide valuables and transported gifts. Try your best not to leave them in your vehicles. When we’re all scrambling around making sure we’re discreet and having to hide gifts as best we can, it’s easy to leave them in our cars out of sight from our families, but what you don’t want to do is leave them in sight for thieves.

    If you are struggling, and have no other choice, make sure they’re well hidden in boots, and that vehicles are as secure as can be; keys should be next to you upstairs and not near entry points. Another good idea is to invest in light sensors for your driveways or gardens to light up any trespassers and especially if you have luxury cars, a gated driveway will uplevel your security significantly.

    Don’t be complacent around Christmas

    For the big day, when all the presents have been unwrapped, and new gadgets are desperate to be tested, you need to make sure you’re not being complacent. It’s easy to slip into a forgetful mode when we’re all hyped up, but there’s a few things you should remember to be on top of for a safer Christmas and to help protect new presents.

  • With all the excitement of kids wanting to go out and test new toys, just make sure you’re always keeping an eye over them and locking things up as you go
  • Don’t leave windows, doors and pet flaps unsecured, especially if you end up leaving to visit a relative’s house
  • You may have a routine where you take presents to a relative’s house, and get everything packed in the car ready, maybe even the night before. Make sure whenever you’re leaving vehicles, they’re always secure with presents hidden - no matter how rushed you may be
  • Make sure all packaging is discarded well, and be more organised - presents should all be tucked away and not on display, especially if you’re heading out
  • If you’re going to be out in the evening, you may want to leave some lights on to give the impression your home isn’t vacant
  • We may not want to think about it but even on the big day, thieves can lurk. Just make sure you’re reminding children, when they’re out playing or testing gifts, to not stray too far and to always hide away presents. For example, your teen may be testing out a brand new, very expensive bicycle, so make sure they’re vigilant and that they’re not going to remote places. After it’s been used, keep it stored securely and out of sight
  • Whatever you’re up to for Christmas, spend it joyously but wisely and just keep being more cautious throughout the season. And if you’re worried about your home’s security, especially if you have a lot of luxury gifts stored away this year, see how a smart home security alarm can help put you at more ease.