Don’t fall victim as burglaries boom over festive season
HOMEOWNERS who fail to take proper security measures face having their Christmas ruined by cruel thieves, the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) warned.
Christmas time is the peak time for break-ins and a prosperous time for burglars, with expensive presents neatly tucked under the tree and a higher chance of homeowners being out visiting family, attending parties or doing last-minute shopping.
According to police figures, homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled, while the number of break-ins traditionally increases during the run up to the festive season.
Hundreds of families face heartache and misery over Christmas when they return home to discover thieves have ransacked them property, and stolen presents from under the tree, along with other valuable items like TVs, laptops and jewellery.
MLA development director Dr Steffan George said:
“Houses are more likely to contain higher value items in the form of gifts ready to be unwrapped on Christmas Day, including gadgets and jewellery, which can be easily pocketed by thieves.
“Even though many people feel more at risk of burglary over Christmas, many still don’t do anything about it, and every year thieves ruin Christmas for many families.
“Just by taking a few simple security measures, householders can avoid the distress of having their homes burgled and the financial loss that comes with a break-in.”
The MLA has issued the 12 tips of Christmas to help beat the burglars:
1. Take expert advice by asking a professional MLA-approved locksmith to carry out a security assessment, involving an inspection of our property, checking of locks and any fitted security alarms to ensure they are working properly and meet our insurance requirements.
2. Keep presents out of view. It’s always nice to see presents under the tree but if the tree is near a window, the gifts offer would-be burglars a tempting invite.
3. Ensure your home looks occupied at all time. Leave a light, radio or fake TV on a timer to make it look like there is someone in.
4. Ensure all doors and windows are securely shut and locked, especially if outdoor Christmas lights are from a power source inside the house and fed through a window.
5. Shopping online this year? Make sure someone is there to receive deliveries and they’re not left on the doorstep.
6. Cancel regular deliveries, including milk and newspapers, if you are going away. They can stack up around your front door, making it obvious no one is in.
7. Dispose of all wrappers and boxes instead of leaving them outside your home, alerting would-be burglars what gifts you have received. Break them down and put them in black bin bags to disguise what’s inside.
8. If you are going to be away over Christmas, arrange for a neighbour to keep an eye on your home. As them to take in the post and open and shut curtains to make it look as if the house is occupied.
9. Consider fitting a visible alarm, CCTV and/or dawn-till-dusk security lighting to deter burglars.
10. Burglars increasingly use social media sites to identify potential targets so avoid sharing too much information if you are going away or what you’ve got. Don’t ‘check-in’ and be careful about posting photographs.
11. Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage.
12. Trim hedges, bushes and shrubs that can provide cover for burglars attempting to gain entry to your house and to improve natural surveillance.