Christmas may well be the season to be jolly but, for some unfortunate people, it could also be a time when they fall victim to a crime.
There are many factors that influence an increase in burglaries during the winter including the beneficial element of darkness, the potential for cashing in on the spoils of those Christmas gifts plus an increased number of people going into debt meaning more would-be criminals considering burglary.
We want to help you keep you, your family and your property safe, so, in this feature, we’ve put together a few helpful hints and useful advice to help stop Christmas being the season to be burgled.
There is nothing that will keep your home more secure than the installation of an accredited, professional monitored home security alarm system coupled with British Standard window and door locks and visible CCTV cameras.
However, there are a couple of extra ways you can keep your home secure this Christmas.
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ more than a big tree with plenty of wrapped presents below but, for potential burglars, this can often be just the invitation they need to size up your home. It can be all too easy to get carried away with putting on a big display to make your home look festive but that lit tree at the front window with the pile of presents beneath could just be one temptation too many.
Position your tree out of plain view if you can and certainly do not place gifts beneath it that are high value or difficult to replace. If you absolutely must have your tree in a position that is visible from the windows, then consider obscuring the view using blinds, curtains or even a temporary opaque frosting.
For many families, Christmas is the time when a lot of high-price goods are gifted to family but most come with tell-tale packaging. As a nation, we recycle far more than we used to a few decades ago but leaving these empty boxes and packages with your refuse is an open advertisement to potential burglars about the contents of your home.
By all means, recycle cardboard boxes and packaging material but consider doing this at your local household recycling centre rather than through kerbside collection. If you cannot do this, you may wish to break down the boxes and discreetly hide these inside your ordinary waste to be collected.
Burglars are very acutely aware of the ways in which social media provide them with important information. Not only are people keen to share information about the gifts they receive but they are also eager to share details about their movements. That innocuous seeming post about your New Year plans to visit family at the other end of the country, combined with posts of your children or grandchildren with their new the latest electronic must-haves could potentially provide an invitation to criminals looking for an easy and lucrative target.
You can minimise this risk by ensuring your privacy settings are kept secure on all your social media accounts but it is far better to avoid specifics at all. Don’t share information about your plans to leave your home unattended and never advertise your high-ticket acquisitions online.
External lights are a festive way to brighten your home and can really make your home pretty at Christmastime.
Always make sure that the cables for your lights do not compromise the security of your home. Even if a window is wedge open slightly, this is enough for burglars to pry it open.
If you are leaving your home unoccupied for any periods over the Christmas holidays then use a timer with variable settings to switch your lights ON and OFF. Nothing advertises itself more to a burglars than homes that are dark during the evening.
Leaving lights on and having lamps that switch ON or OFF at various times can help deter thieves from selecting your home as an easy target.
Whether the person who rings your doorbell is seeking donations for a charity, garnering support for local community issues or simply trying to sell you something it is very important that you remain cautious of their intentions.
Distraction burglaries are a common way for thieves to exploit people whilst they are in their home and work via one criminal keeping you occupied at the door whilst their accomplice breaks into your home from the rear.
You can buy ‘No Cold Caller’ signs from the internet for a few pounds and these are often enough to stop both genuine or potential criminals from knocking at your door. If you do open the door to a cold caller, never invite them into your home and try to keep the interaction as brief as possible. If you have any suspicions over the motives and intention of your visitor then you should report this to your local police and (if you have one) your neighbourhood watch organiser.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the Christmas period is the precursor for an increase in burglaries in the UK. Whilst the holidays themselves seem to deter criminals from breaking and entering homes, it is the period immediately following the festive season where criminal activity increases.
In January 2018, the official number of burglaries in the UK rose from 36,102 (December 2017) to 39,186; an increase of 8.5%. Bike thefts were also up from 4,932 (December 2017) to 5,552 (January 2018) or an increase of 12.57%.
Unfortunately, crime is not restricted to the months of December and January but is a year-round threat.
Improving your home security is the most important thing you can do to keep your family and property protected from criminals.
Here at Connect 4 CCTV, we specialise in supplying and installing high-quality security monitoring and recording equipment design to deter and protect your home.
We’d love to have the opportunity to talk to you about how you can keep your home secure. You can contact us today to receive your personalised quote by calling 0344 324 6020 or using our contact form.