If Home Alone has taught us nothing else – and I think we can all agree that it’s taught us a lot – it’s that opportunistic criminals love nothing more than cashing in on Christmas, occasionally through hilarious, madcap means.
Sadly, most of us don’t have a Kevin McCallister on hand to fend off such yuletide looters, leaving your home very much alone and wide open to festive thievery.
Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can boost your Christmas home security this December…
Christmas Safety Checklist
Designed to ensure you and your family have a very merry Christmas that goes by without a hitch, here are our top five tips for keeping burglars at bay and your home safe this festive season.
Window of Opportunity
A common mistake for many homeowners looking to deck their homely halls with outside Christmas lights is feeding cables and extension leads through partially opened windows.
Naturally, this provides an effortless entryway for would-be burglars to gain access to the inside of your property.
In fact, it’s a literal glowing sign for any thief looking to go rockin’ robbing at Christmastime and a schoolboy error that should be avoided at all costs.
Where possible, opt for battery-powered and decorative illuminations to avoid any need for a plug-in power source altogether.
There are even solar-powered lights on the market if you want to kill two birds with one stone and give back to the environment at the same time.
If mains-powered decorations are all you have and the only option available, consider installing an outside electrical outlet to power your lights without needing to use the inside.
With Christmas refuse collection notoriously disorganised and infrequent during the festive period, it’s not unusual for bags to mount up by the time collections are finally made.
In the case of recycling, this can leave you with a veritable shop window right outside your house, telling the entire street what now lies inside your house post-Xmas.
For passing burglars, this can be like watching The Generation Game, providing a glorified conveyor belt of boxes, packages and containers to whet their appetite.
To keep your contents protected, be sure to rip or fold up any boxes to obscure their previous contents, particularly those that housed something valuable, e.g. a games system or an iPad.
Better still, try to keep your recycling bags off the street and out of view until the night before collection to reduce the chances of a crafty criminal-turned-Columbo detecting what valuables you and your family had for Christmas.
Many of us will be looking to spend our Christmases with friends, family and loved ones at various points throughout the festive period. Naturally, this can and often will, involve leaving your property unattended in the process.
If you are going to be vacating your home for an extended period of time over Christmas, taking the appropriate precautions is vital when it comes to protecting your premises.
For extended absences, you may want to ask your neighbour to pick up any deliveries that may build up outside your door to make it less obvious.
Even if you only plan on staying elsewhere overnight, it’s well worth investing in a light switch timer to make it seem as though your house is occupied with periodic lighting.
A typical burglary takes less than ten minutes from start to finish and a good light switch timer can cost less than £30.00. If you can put a price on piece of mind, £30 is definitely a bargain.
Keep Gifts Under Wraps
Gifts nestled safely under a Christmas tree is a given for most houses at Christmastime. However, that doesn’t mean you need to give the street a perfect view of your festive haul.
Leaving your presents in full view of the window – particularly when it comes to houses that back directly on to the street – allows burglars to size up your presents before Christmas has even arrived.
What’s more, once Christmas Day has come and gone, any expensive presents left in full view can leave would-be thieves salivating like a dog in a butcher’s window.
Simply drawing the curtains or placing such items out of obvious view is an easy way to remedy this, so be sure to get into the habit sooner rather than later.
Similarly, broadcasting the newest additions to your contents collection online via social media can also be a risky action. After all, how well do your really know your social media connections?
You could be advertising to the wrong crowd without even knowing it, so think twice before you post that status thanking your partner for the new 65” Smart TV that now sits proudly in your living room.
Roasting on an Open Fire
Taking steps to deter thieves and keep your home secure from criminals isn’t the only way to keep your property safe at Christmastime – it’s also important to take fire precautions as well.
Christmas trees are a common offender when it comes to household fires at Christmastime, so keeping your tree away from open flames is a simple yet hugely effective way of reducing the risk of fire during the Christmas period.
Avoid placing your tree anywhere near a heating source, such as a fireplace or potentially flammable electric heater. Meanwhile, always refrain from lighting candles anywhere near your tree.
In addition to that, you may want to think about the tree lights as well. Old Christmas lights can pose a greater risk of catching fire and could see your festive fir light up in an altogether more dangerous way should a bulb blow.
Finally, be sure to switch your tree lights off whenever you leave the house and before you go to bed. Not only will it save you money on your electric bill, it also reduces the likelihood of a fire occurring in your absence.
So, there you have it: five great ways to boost your Christmas home security. For more advice on how to keep your home secure at Christmas, why not drop us a line? Call now on 029 20 753 251 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.