Short days and dark nights are the perfect excuse to draw the curtains and snuggle up in front of the fire. But if you have Christmas events to attend in the evening or you’re off to visit family over the festive season, it pays to ensure your home is secure and looks ‘lived in’ even if you’re not there.
The dark winter months are a key time for home break ins, with local police forces running their dedicated burglary campaigns right through to the end of February. With this in mind, this is the time you should be putting a few precautions in place to safeguard your house.
With more people of retirement age than ever before embracing smartphones, laptops and tablets, homes are positively brimming with desirable technology. Reports show that almost 90% of over fifties own at least one wireless gadget1. Around Christmas time, gifts purchased for others bump up the value of goods in the home, too. In fact according to reports, the week before Christmas can see up to 28% more burglaries than the national average, with thieves capitalising on Santa’s generous gifts.
So how can you deter uninvited guests and save yourself the stress of a break in? These are out Top Five Tips:
1. Light & lived in – use timer switches to switch lights on and off, especially if you’re not going to return home until after dark
2. Lock it up – a house that appears secure is less likely to become a target of crime so look at upgrading your locks on windows and doors. It’s a good habit to get in to locking your doors when you’re at home, too.
3. Improve your home security – think about external security lights and getting your house alarm checked over to make sure it’s working properly. Use your alarm when you’re out and over night
4. Tell a neighbour - If you’re going away, you could ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on things for you. Alternatively, if you’re part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, you could enlist their support
5. Hide expensive items - keep jewellery, tablets, laptops and phones out of sight so if anyone does happen to peer in, they’re less likely to be tempted – keep the cables out of sight and unplugged when you’re not in, too
It’s also worth registering your valuables for free at immobilise.com – the UK’s free property register. This means that if you are unlucky enough to have valuables stolen, you can inform the police, your insurer and the second-hand trade to help you recover your property. Specialist UV marking pens are also available for labelling your property with a postcode, for example.
Just a few little changes could make all the difference to the security of your home over the Christmas season and through winter, so whether the grandchildren are coming over or you’re heading off for a spot of winter sun, you can relax knowing that your home is safer.