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It’s the time of year when we shop the most, filling our homes with the latest gadgets, designer goods, expensive wines and spirits and jewellery for our loved ones and there’s a higher chance of us being out and about visiting friends and family. It’s the perfect time for burglars to break in.
While the numbers of reported burglaries were at their lowest last year, 650,000 incidents of domestic burglary still occurred. So you don’t get caught out this Christmas, follow these helpful tips…
Keep presents and gift packaging away from view
Make sure to leave your presents out of sight, away from a window. Remembering rubbish collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times, so ensure you only put your bins out just before the collection and break apart boxes so that they don’t act as an advertisement of your new presents to burglars!
Burglars use social media to gain information
Studies have shown that burglars use social media to seek out potential targets. Although you may not be intentionally inviting burglars to your home, publishing enough information on your whereabouts and your new presents and not having the correct privacy tools in place could put you as a target. So, be wary of what you post and regularly check your safety settings.
Improve the security potential of your doors
It is important to have robust locks on both the front and back doors. Ensure entrance doors to your home are fitted with secure locks or a multi-point locking system with at least 1000 differs (the number of possible keys for a given lock). You will already have this if you live in a newly built property.
Do you have sliding back doors?
These should be secured by way of a multi-point locking system and have an anti-lift device fitted so that doors cannot be lifted from their frame from the outside.
Check your window locking systems
Ground floor windows and any others that are easily reached by climbing are recommended to be fitted with lockable devices/handles which cannot be released without a key. If you own a home built in the last ten years, they should already be there.
Be secure, but also safe
If your doors can be locked from the inside using a key, make sure you keep a key in a convenient place nearby, so that you can get out quickly in an emergency.
Ensure that you have a wide angle view of the area immediately outside the main entrance door to check on callers. Newer properties may already have a through-door viewer or clear glazing either to part of the door or a convenient window which provides a view of the main entrance.
Consider a light sensor…
Crime can be prevented by external detection security lighting that switches on after dark when someone is nearby, illuminating the general area. It’s highly effective in deterring potential intruders and therefore definitely worth considering if your home doesn’t already have one installed.
…and alarm systems
A house alarm systems acts in two ways – to deter intruders, and detect the opening of a window or a door. Some systems can also be linked up to a mobile phone number, letting the owner know the alarm has been triggered.
Lock rear entry gates
Make sure your back garden is as private and secure as possible. Many burglaries start at the back, where no-one can see them taking place.
Keep ladders and other equipment safe
Do not leave ladders, steps etc. visible in the garden, as they attract the keen eye of the burglar and makes things easy for them, so always ensure that they are kept out of sight, ideally in a locked shed or garage.
If you’re away – try to make your home look occupied!
Leave the lights on in the evening or when you go out to your Christmas parties (but not just hall or landing lights) or use an automatic time switch or smartphone-controlled device. But, if you’re away for a length of time, arrange for a neighbour to generally keep an eye on your home while you are away.
Neil Smith, NHBC Head of Standards, Innovation and Research, says:
“There are a number of simple steps people can take to ensure they don’t fall victim to this disturbing crime. From burglar alarms to security lights, these measures can improve security and offer residents peace of mind in helping to make sure their homes and belongings are well protected.
“People who live in newer properties, may already have security locks, burglar alarms and security lighting included as standard. But there are also a number of simple measures people can take to keep their homes and property safe from burglars.”
We will get back to you as soon as possible.