Most burglaries are opportunistic and the Christmas season provides just the opportunity your local burglars have been waiting for.
Over the Christmas season many people will go on holiday. Those who stay home are likely to be out shopping, socialising and visiting family. In either case, this leaves the family home at greater risk of burglary.
And it’s not just your valuables and electronics the burglars are after – they’re also aware that you might have a selection of fabulous Christmas presents to steal. So while enjoying the festive season and your holiday, don't overlook your home security. Taking a few simple precautions will help to deter all but the most determined burglar.
- Shut and lock all doors, even if you're only going out for a short time or gardening in the back yard.
- Close and lock all windows - burglars don't like to smash glass.
- Do not "hide" keys outside your home, nor leave them in an obvious place near doors or windows.
- Make sure your valuables - including televisions and stereo systems - cannot be seen from outside.
- When you buy new items like DVD players or video recorders, don't advertise by leaving the empty boxes out for recycling, turn the boxes inside out and fold them down.
- Hide or lock away passports and official documents - identity fraud is on the rise.
- Don't leave car keys near doors or windows - car theft through burglary is also on the rise.
- Consider engraving your property - this puts thieves off because it makes it harder to re-sell.
- Ensure you have an up-to-date list and photographs of your valuables and keep copies in a safe place.
Homes with good security are much less likely to be burgled than those without.
- Deadlocks make it harder for burglars to get out with your goods if they got in through a window. Don't forget to put a deadlock on the internal access door between the garage and the house.
- Window locks deter burglars because smashing glass attracts attention and can leave forensic evidence.
- Visible burglar alarms are a great deterrent - though it's courteous to your neighbours to ensure that they shut off after a few minutes.
- Security lighting is also a good deterrent, but should be placed carefully near entry points so as not to disturb neighbours.
- Timers on radios and lights make it look like you're home when you're not.
- Spy holes and chains on doors let you see who's there without opening up.
When you go on holiday
- Make your home look occupied by using timers on radios and lights.
- Cancel milk, newspaper and mail deliveries.
- Have a neighbour stop by to collect junk mail, and open and close curtains.
- Make sure your neighbours know where they can contact you in an emergency and when you will be home.
- Invite neighbours to use your driveway and clothesline to make it look like someone is home.
- Lock away garden tools and ladders that could be used by a would-be thief to gain access to your house.
- Make arrangements for family pets to be looked after.
- If you are away for more than a few days, arrange to have your lawns mown.
- Consider inviting a relative or friend to house-sit for you.
- Whatever you do, don't leave a message on your answer phone telling people that you are away. Instead, clear the messages yourself or arrange to have a friend check them regularly for you.
The views or information given in this article are not necessarily the views of AMP or AMP Adviser Businesses. It provides general financial information and is not intended to provide financial advice. For personalised financial advice, we recommend you contact us.