The Christmas holidays are a time when many of us leave our homes unattended for long periods while we visit family and friends, or even leave the country in favour of a hotter destination for a break from the cold, dark winter days. Unfortunately, these conditions favour burglars, for whom the cover of longer dark hours provides a natural method of concealment. The increased number of empty properties, and the fact that neighbours will be suitably distracted by their own celebrations, means that burglars can take full advantage of any unsecured home.
If you are going away for a day or two over the festive period it is advisable to set your NSI approved burglar alarm, as well as taking additional security measures to ensure your home is not seen as a target. Post and milk deliveries should not be a problem over the main Christmas days, as deliveries are not carried out on bank holidays, but if you are away on days when bins are collected or post is due, it is worth asking a trusted neighbour to put your bin out and collect your post, so it appears that the house is occupied. They could also open and close curtains in the morning and at night, to reinforce the impression that people are inside. Leaving lights, radios and a television on a timer switch means that even if burglars have spent some time looking at your property, it will still appear to be occupied compared to a home where these measures have not been taken. Of course, you don’t need to recreate the full Home Alone scene, just set up some indicators that someone is either in or taking care of the property.
If you are going away for longer then having a neighbour or friend to house sit or just attend to the curtains and post is almost essential. Of course, they will need to have the code for your NACOSS approved burglar alarm, so it is important that they can be trusted with your home. If you have pets you may already use a house sitter so that pets can stay in their home and not have to go to a boarding kennel, but if you do not already use a house sitter it is worth looking into. If you are visiting several different people rather than going to one location for an extended period, you could consider splitting these visits up so you have some time at home in between. It may even be possible to switch hosting duties to reduce the amount of time your home is left empty.
Even if you are at home for most of the festive week there are still opportunities for burglars to break in, for example if you go for a long walk on Boxing Day. No-one likes wrapping paper, boxes and receipts cluttering up their home, but it is not a good idea to throw these away or leave them by the bins, as this advertises all the new acquisitions to thieves. They may see TV and game console boxes by the bins, see you all leave for a long walk and take advantage of that short window to gain access and take what they know you have. Keep all these advertising items inside the house (and not visible from downstairs windows) until you can get to a municipal tip and dispose of them.
These measures will help reduce the chances of you being burgled over Christmas, but break ins do still happen. In order to ensure that your insurance company will pay your claim in the event of a theft, you should install and activate an NSI approved alarm system and inform your insurance company that you have done so. They may give you a reduction on your premium for taking this step, but even if they don’t, it makes it hard for them to refuse to pay out. In the event of a burglary over Christmas, you want to ensure you have the highest level of cover to replace presents that may be stolen, as nothing ruins Christmas like losing the items you have longed for all year.
P&R Alarms are fully certified to the NSI Gold standard, so you can trust us to keep your home and possessions safe even during peak burglary times.