The holiday season is here, so you’re likely busy shopping for gifts, attending parties, and travelling to visit relatives and friends. But now is also the time to think about your home’s security. There were nearly half a million burglaries throughout the UK in 2015 and December is one of the busiest time for burglars to be active.
A monitored home security system can be an effective deterrent to burglars, but there are additional precautions you can take to make your home less appealing to criminals. Here’s our gift to you: a run-down of our top home security tips for the holidays.
1. Conduct a security check.
Conduct a security check of your home by walking around the perimeter and thinking like a burglar. Look for weak points of entry, such as a door that doesn’t lock properly or an unlocked window. Make a list of items that need attention and put them at the top of your weekend to-do list. Then scan your garden for bikes, leaf blowers, ladders or other items that may tempt a burglar and secure them in the shed or garage. Finally, trim overgrown shrubs because they could conceal the burglar while he breaks into your home. Some local police forces offer complimentary home security checks, but don’t wait long to call. When crime picks up in December there might not be an officer available to help.
2. Don’t advertise your new gifts.
Placing perfectly wrapped gifts under your Christmas tree makes for a stunning holiday display, but it’s like eye candy to a burglar. Either ensure gifts can’t be seen through windows or habitually close curtains to keep curious criminals from scoping out your house. This tip applies to other goodies too; don’t leave your laptop or your child’s pricey game console in sight.
3. Take advantage of home automation.
Give your house an early gift by outfitting it with a home automation system, and help keep burglars at bay. With home automation you can achieve a lived in look by doing things like turning lights on or off, or programming the TV or radio to turn on at random times. Whether you’re at the office or visiting family for the holidays, home automation lets you control your home right from your Web connected device.
4. Don’t leave obvious clues.
With the average UK family spending around £800 on christmas and nearly £25 billion being spent on gifts, If your family is travelling to see relatives and friends this christmas, don’t make it evident to criminals. Arrange for someone to put the wheely bin back, pick up your newspaper and mail, or flyers left at the front door- they are all calling cards to burglars, even better, ask your neighbours and their guests to park their car on your driveway.
If you live in an area where it snows heavily, plan to have your driveway shoveled. Go the extra mile by having a trusted neighbour or friend leave tires tracks and footprints in the snow. If someone is watching your home for you, ask them to look for footprints around the perimeter of your home that may indicate someone was trying to get in.
5. Install a home security system.
Installing a monitored home security system offers a variety of benefits, not the least of which is it makes your home 300 percent less likely to be burgled. Plus, our systems allow you to view real-time video of your home, right from your smartphone or tablet, which can give you valuable peace of mind while travelling. Ensure that your system is tested and working before you go, there's nothing worse than waiting for an engineer to attend whilst waiting to go to the airport!
6. Talk to trusted neighbours.
Let a trusted neighbour know if you’re headed to the in-laws for the holidays and ask them to contact police immediately if they see any suspicious activity around your home, and then notify you. Provide them with the name of anyone who has access to your home while you’re gone, such as the pet sitter or housekeeper, and the description of cars they might expect to see in your driveway or at your front door. If your neighbourhood has a Neighbourhood Watch, you may want to notify them of your plans.
7. Keep hush-hush.
We all want to brag that we’re headed to the Caribbean for the holidays and post status updates once we’re there, but sharing your expedition with the world is like rolling out the welcome mat for burglars. Tell your plans only to those who need to know, and caution your kids to do the same. Share all the awesome photos and videos when you return.
Burglars aren’t the only bad guys out there. Petty criminals are known to canvas neighbourhoods looking for unlocked car doors. They’ll take anything they can get their hands on, like CDs, GPS devices, lose change, sunglasses, and even personal identifying information. Keep your car’s doors locked at all times and never leave gifts or other valuables in sight. You should also make it a habit to hide the garage door opener so it can’t be seen by those passing by, or better yet, take it with you when you go inside your home. If a burglar gets his hands on the garage door opener he’s not only able to grab the goodies stashed in the garage, he may gain access to your home through an interior door.
Don’t let a burglary dampen your holiday festivities. Use these tips to take a proactive approach to home security and help strengthen your home’s defence.
If the worst does happen during the christmas period, we're here to help with engineers on call 24/7 and systems usually installed within a few days, if you are considering securing your property during the christmas period, contact us on 0203 488 1699 to book a free, no-obligation security survey.