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Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500
With many people taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to prepare for Christmas and the holiday season it`s important to remember there are criminals ready to take advantage of any opportunities. Read our guide to make certain you’re as secure as possible.
Christmas is always an expensive time of year and with the added pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis many are taking full advantage of excellent Black Friday and Cyber Security deals. Reports from retailers reflect how thrifty consumers are buying gifts and seasonal decorations early to make certain their christmas celebrations are filled with delight.
But police forces are reported to be braced for a surge in crime as the spiralling cost of living crisis drives some people to take desperate measures. With energy costs going through the roof it`s inevitable that some people, who are normally law-abiding citizens, will be forced to resort to crime. Records show that home burglaries surge during the festive season with crime rates peaking over the weeks before and after December 25th. In London burglaries are reported to increase by around 25% at this time of year. Home security is therefore of paramount importance.
While people often want to display their brightly illuminated and highly decorated christmas trees in their windows these can attract the attention of mindless criminals. Christmas gifts are traditionally placed under the tree, ready for the big day. But these can present an irresistible attraction to opportunist thieves.
It`s therefore far safer to locate christmas trees away from windows and make certain gifts can’t be easily seen by would-be burglars. Rather than placing actual gifts under the Christmas tree, the same effect can be created by wrapping empty boxes while securely storing the actual gift items somewhere else, such as in the loft or a locked cupboard.
Perimeter security provides an important layer of defence against unwelcome intruders. If a property has boundary walls, fences, hedges or gates it`s important to make certain these boundaries are in good repair and present effective anti-intruder deterrence.
It`s also recommended that any secluded areas around a property that might be exploited by burglars are identified. These may be caused by overgrown vegetation that can be cut back to improve visibility and make certain there are no areas in which criminals can attempt to break in, unseen.
Security lighting, triggered by movement, is a highly effective intruder deterrent. Burglars like to work unseen so bright security lighting that’s automatically switched on when movement is detected is often enough to scare them away. If a property has any concealed, dark areas that might be exploited by house-breakers security lighting can be an effective solution.
Criminals hate security camera systems. Since CCTV cameras have become increasingly affordable and simple to install these systems are now a viable option. Combined with security lighting and some appropriate warning signage, just one or two low cost CCTV cameras can provide a high level of home security protection.
It is worth remembering that most burglars gain entry into homes and business properties via the windows and doors making it essential to pay attention to window and door security. This means windows and doors should be closed and always locked when there is nobody at home. It also means paying attention to the robustness of locks, window frames, door frames, their hinges and construction.
It`s also important to not overlook the doors and windows around outbuildings, garages and sheds. Thieves know that during the winter months many people store an abundance of resellable, valuable assets in their sheds and garages such as power tools, bikes, mowers and much more. These criminals also know that while homeowners may have invested in effective security around their houses they often don’t pay as much attention to their outbuildings. So it`s vitally important to make certain all outbuilding doors and windows are always locked and as secure as possible.
Many people leave their homes to visit friends and relatives over the holiday season and criminals know about the opportunities these empty homes provide. Creating the impression there is someone still at home is an effective tactic to deter intruders.
This can be achieved by putting lights and other devices such as radios and TVs, on timers that automatically turn them on and off.
Another useful tactic is to ask a neighbour to routinely collect the mail and possibly draw and undraw the curtains. Leaving the curtains permanently drawn 24 hours a day looks suspiciously like there’s nobody home.
An empty driveway is another sign that can indicate occupiers are away from home. Parking a vehicle in the driveway is another effective ploy that can deter criminals from attempting a break in. Anything that mimics normal daily activity around your home, such as moving the bins out ready for collection, can be enough to deter intruders.
Notifying a friendly neighbour that you are going to be away from home and asking them to keep an eye on your property is a sensible precaution. As noted, they may also be happy to help make your home look like it`s occupied by calling round to open and close the curtains and possibly collect the mail. It`s also important to stop any regular deliveries such as newspapers or milk while you are away as these can be a tell-tale sign for opportunistic thieves.
If you are planning to go away over the holiday season it`s important to keep these plans to yourself. While it may be tempting to go online and excitedly tell people about where you are going it`s best to keep this to yourself until you return when it`s safe to share some details of your trip.
And when away on your winter break don’t be tempted to share images or details of your vacation online as these can be easily reshared outside your circle of social media friends and possibly seen by criminals and others who know where you live and are on the lookout for easy targets.
Packaging derived from Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals along with Christmas gifts needs to be cautiously disposed of. Piles of boxes and cardboard outside a home will tell a criminal exactly what’s been purchased and what they will find if they break in. If they know there are valuable items they can quickly and easily resell this can present an irresistible temptation to target your home.
Packaging for expensive items should be cut up or torn up before securely placing it inside waste-bins or recycling containers where it can’t be seen. Boxes and containers should never be piled up alongside refuse bins.
Burglars know where to look for hidden door keys such as fake rocks, under plant pots or above door ledges. A far more secure option is to leave spare keys with a trusted third party such as a reliable neighbour.
It`s vitally important to make sure your home and contents insurance provides the necessary cover. Some people vacate their homes for prolonged periods over the holiday and winter season so it`s important make certain the insurance company knows about this and insurance cover is adequate. It`s also important to review the specific valuables and assets, such as jewellery and bicycles, to make certain these are notified to your insurer and remember to add any new items you`ve acquired over the holiday period.
If you have any questions about home or property security or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice.
This message was added on Thursday 1st December 2022