It’s a ho-ho-horrible thing to think about when the lights are dazzling the neighbours, mince pies are in the cupboard and the tree is going up, but those presents stored snuggly beneath it might not be as safe as you might think.
Christmas is the time of year when burglars don their seasonal bah-humbug hats and set about performing acts that would unsettle even the Grinch. Unfortunately, the festive season sees thefts and break-ins soaring higher than Santa’s sleigh.
Sadly, Christmas spirit isn’t enough to stop criminals.
What’s worse, conviction rates for crimes are falling. Only 1 in every 100 crimes are solved. If your presents are pinched from under your tree, you’d have more luck trying to get a carrot off of Rudolf than actually retrieving them.
Keeping your gifts secure can be the difference between the best holiday season ever and a nightmare just before Christmas, but that responsibility now falls firmly on your shoulders.
So what can you do avoid a Christmas worthy of a Watchdog special?
Don’t Advertise Your Festive Finds
It’s Christmas time, which means burglars are aware that people are buying up exciting new items worth taking a closer look at — especially with Black Friday sales officially overtaking the UK.
So where to target first?
Like an excited child running downstairs to check what Santa brought, a burglar is looking for the best possible festive haul. This means they are on the hunt for homes that have the best stuff to steal. If you’ve recently bought a fancy new laptop, an expensive games console and a big new 4K TV, they might just mark your house at the top of their Christmas list.
But how do they know you’ve just acquired all this fantastic new gear? Because you’ve put all the packaging out for bin collection.
Don’t make it easy for burglars to know what’s in your home. Tear up the packaging and make sure it’s covered by bin bags or inside your recycling instead of on the street. If you can’t fit it into your rubbish bins, take it to the tip instead of leaving it on the curb.
Don’t Let Burglars Know You Are Basking in Winter Sun
Who needs to freeze in subzero temperatures when airlines are offering up tickets to Spain for the same price as a takeaway pizza? More people are catching some winter sun than ever before, which is great…for burglars.
All they want for Christmas is not you — they want you gone. An unoccupied house is what they ask for when they sit on Santa’s lap.
It is common to take precautions when going away to make sure your home looks lived in — like leaving lights on, asking neighbours to move the bins and take mail in for you. This definitely helps keep burglars at bay, but only if you aren’t making a big mistake:
Letting everyone know you are on holiday.
Social media posting about holidays, otherwise known as #HolidayBragging, is a popular pastime, and for good reason. Why wouldn’t you want to share your amazing holiday snaps and international adventures?
Because it’s putting your presents and valuables at risk!
You might not believe it, but 78% of burglars admit to using social media to target potential properties. They’re looking for nice items in the background, a lack of security and evidence that you aren’t home. When you go away over Christmas, keep it secret, at least from your social channels — in particular Instagram and Twitter, where you are more likely to engage with strangers.
Don’t Let Criminals Have Easy Pickings
Picture this scene:
It’s the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, except some dodgy intruder that’s creeping around your living room with a big sack — and no, we aren’t talking about Santa.
If some low-life criminal enters your home around the festive season, you want to make it difficult for them to slip away with your valuables. With so few items being returned by police, stopping them from ever being taken is utterly essential.
But how do you do that?
Once a burglar is in the home, the task gets pretty tricky, but it isn’t impossible. While securing everything is going to be a challenge, you can at least make sure your most valuable gifts are kept locked up tight.
Security safes offer a powerful last line of defence against festive fiends out to steal your new smartphones, jewellery, tech, gold, frankincense, myrrh, etc. There are plenty of safes for sale that provide more than adequate safety features to stop a Christmas criminal in their tracks, from budget options to high-grade, state-of-the-art monoliths of steel.
If your gifts are carefully locked up within a safe, the chances of having them stolen are significantly reduced, and instead, the chances of you having a very merry Christmas will shine brighter than the star atop your undisturbed tree.