Home security at Christmas

Home security at Christmas
Christmas: it’s the most wonderful time of the year - or so the song says, anyway.

It’s the time of year when we take a step back, spend time with friends and family, and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.

However, without wanting to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge and put a dampener on the festivities, Christmas is also the time of year when our homes are typically full of goodies.

You might have lots of expensive gifts in the home, as well as a fridge and freezer full of food and drink - perhaps the type of items you’d never usually buy.

So, while home security is important all year round, it’s particularly important that it’s not overlooked at Christmas and forgotten about among all the festive fun.

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What makes your home an easy yuletide target?

Your home might be an easy target for thieves and intruders at Christmas - without you even realising.

You could, quite innocently, be leaving huge signs that your home has plenty of tempting treasures inside; some of these might act as an open invitation for thieves to break in for a closer look inside.

What does your home look like at Christmas?

You could be causing problems for yourself without even realising.

Outdoor decorations

The trouble is when we feed those lights in through a partially closed window to a power socket inside the house.

That window is open, albeit only slightly - but that might be enough for a burglar to gain access.

What’s more, if a burglar gains entry to your home through an open or unlocked window/door, it could mean you can’t claim for any loss or damage.

Christmas tree on display

Doesn’t your Christmas tree look stunning?

Brilliantly decorated, it stands proudly in your front room, for all to see and admire. However, for a potential thief, it serves a different purpose.

It advertises, very blatantly, that your home is in the full swing of Christmas - especially so if there are already presents beneath it.

You could think about positioning the tree away from public view, or perhaps use lighting, curtains and blinds to make it less obvious.

Packaging and presents

If you’re in the middle of a pre-Christmas spending spree, the chances are you’ve accumulated a lot of packaging - particularly if you’ve ordered online and have loads of branded cardboard boxes. 

You’ll no doubt want to recycle these, but please keep them stored away until collection time.

A driveway with a stack of packaging just tells everyone that you’ve been spending lots of money - and that those gifts are somewhere in your home...

In short, anything that advertises your home is full of Christmas spirit could put it at risk, so try to be discrete and extra vigilant.

Christmas security checklist

This holiday season, keep security in mind.

Keep safe at Christmas by using a security checklist, and running through it - there’s no guarantee your home won’t become a target for intruders but you’ll know by running through the checklist, you’re doing as much as you can to deter them.

Christmas home security tips include:

  • Be careful unloading presents from your car - you don’t know who might be watching. Try reversing your car onto the driveway and taking presents in through the back door. Never leave an unattended boot open. 
  • Keep Christmas gift boxes and packaging hidden until they can be collected, instead of on show.
  • If your Christmas tree is in your front room, try to keep some of it hidden from public view - and don’t leave a pile of presents underneath it in the days before Christmas Day.
  • If you’re going out at night, put lights on a timer switch so it gives the impression of someone being at home. This one works year-round!
  • If you’re going away for Christmas, inform your neighbour and leave a key with them. Ask them to collect the post and any newspapers, so there isn’t a build up on your front mat, signposting your absence.
  • Keep outbuildings - sheds, garages - locked. You might be storing gifts in there, or potential thieves could also access ladders and tools to try to get into your home.
  • Keep doors and windows locked and secure, with spare keys hidden from view. Be aware of callers at the door who don’t seem genuine.

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Protecting the presents

Expensive gifts and presents attract thieves, who know homes will invariably contain items of value, and perhaps even high value.

Be sensitive with where you store these, and how you look after them.

Tips include not keeping them under the tree - only put them out on the night of Christmas Eve.

Some households like to pile them up in the days leading up to Christmas Day, but this only showcases exactly where they are and makes them easier to find.

In fact, store presents in several different locations around the house, making it harder - and more time consuming - for a burglar to find them all.

If you’ve just bought presents, don’t leave them in your car for longer than necessary.

Car security at Christmas is of paramount importance, too.

If you have young children, you’ll want to keep presents a surprise so it’s understandable that you’ll want to keep them hidden until you can sneak them into the home, but try to bring them inside as soon as you can. 

Definitely don’t leave them on the parcel shelf or rear seats - they must be in the boot, locked away.

Another tip is to prepare for theft.

Take photographs of all new items of a certain value, so you can prove you purchased them in the case of an insurance claim.

If any presents are of a high value, get single item cover for them on your home insurance, so you can get them replaced if they are stolen.

Be mindful of social sharing

Finally, be careful with what you post on social media in and around Christmas.

Many of us have a tendency to document our lives on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but just pause for a moment and think about what you’re posting. 

Images of a pile of newly-purchased presents, or a decorated tree laden with gifts underneath it, might look great but they could be seen by people with ulterior motives.

You really have little control over how your posts are shared and who might see them.

This also applies if you’re away for Christmas.

While it might look great to boast about spending a week in the sun over Christmas, or seeing in the festive season on a ski resort, but to a burglar monitoring social media, it just tells them, very loudly, that your home will be unoccupied for some time.

Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration, and your reward for a year of hard work and achievement.

Deploy a few easy Christmas security tips and don’t hand out any gifts to thieves.

Need home insurance? Get a quote from the RAC online here.

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