Protect your cherished Christmas presents and your home

Although the glow of Christmas has faded to a distant memory, we have all received something we cherish as gift, or something very expensive that we have wanted for a while. Perhaps last Christmas brought you a delivery from Father Christmas that you just can’t live without, or you have made a major family purchase designed to give bring everyone together, like a set of mountain bikes for family cycle outings.

Whatever the gift, it will have come with some packaging and an invoice showing the value of the item. Disposing of these properly is a vital part of keeping your home and its contents safe, as thieves can easily tell from the contents of your bin and any large cardboard boxes left on the kerb, what you have behind closed doors. Invoices should be shredded or ripped up and can be added to a compost heap. If you don’t have a compost heap, then financial documents should still be shredded before putting them in the bin.

Cardboard boxes left by the roadside are a great advertisement for burglars, as they show that there is definitely something worth stealing, and exactly what it is. This type of packaging should be taken to the council waste disposal centre, or flattened and kept for kids craft projects – it should not be left in public view for any length of time.

These basic steps help to reduce the attractiveness of your house to potential thieves, but there are still many further steps you can take to keep your Christmas presents safe. Jewellery and other small items can be kept in a lockable safe that is located somewhere hidden in your home. Safes are also a good place to keep financial records (on paper or on a USB stick), passports and credit cards that are kept for emergencies. The average home does not have a safe, so by installing one in your home you can keep items out of burglar’s hands even if they do gain entry to your home, as they won’t be looking for one. Having a safe could also mean that your insurance premiums drop, thanks to the extra layer of security on your valuable items.

The best way to make your home an unattractive target for burglars is to fit an intruder alarm to your home. Sometimes just seeing the alarm box on the outside of a building is enough to deter thieves, as they do their research into the best targets; dummy CCTV cameras can also deter thieves who do not want to be caught in the act. A growing number of people are installing real CCTV cameras on their property so that if a thief does try and break in or steal a car, there is a visual record of the act that could lead to prosecution, so this is something to consider if your area has a high level of antisocial behaviour, vandalism and break ins.

Your buildings and contents insurance policy may require a burglar alarm to be present in order to provide any coverage, and some underwriters may offer a reduced premium to homeowners who take these extra security measures. In some cases the alarm system does not have to be active at all times, but in others the alarm system must be activated every time the house is left unattended – check your insurance policy to see what yours requires.

Domestic intruder alarms typically sound a siren when they are triggered, and the noise is usually enough to scare off any burglars. Some types of intruder alarm sound a silent alarm that triggers a response from the emergency services, which can then catch the criminals in the act, as they will not have been scared off by the alarm sounding. Monitored response intruder alarms can be more expensive, as you pay not only for the alarm but for the monitoring services as well, but whether you opt for this level of protection depends largely on the crime rates in your neighbourhood and the value of the items in your home; only you can decide whether the value of your items are worth the extra cost of a monitored and responsive intruder alarm.

At P&R Alarms, we have years of experience in installing and maintaining intruder alarms, as well as experience in guiding homeowners through their options to get the best product for the customer. We are NSI approved to Gold Standard and only use alarm systems from trusted manufacturers, who have the same level of NSI approval as we do. Our monitoring centre is also fully NSI approved, so we are watertight from beginning to end, whatever type of system you choose.