Forget Father Christmas shimmying down your chimney; it’s burglars you may have to contend with this festive season. And it’s not just a problem for people leaving homes empty.
I’m staying at home this Christmas. There are definitely pros and cons to this. Cons include having to cook Christmas dinner, but on the plus side I am glad that I won’t be worrying about being burgled this year.
But maybe I shouldn’t be so smug about staying at home. Christmas traditionally sees a spike in incidents of domestic burglary, and apparently it’s not just empty homes that are at risk.
Don’t get burgled this Christmas
According to our insurance expert, Dan Moore, there are some sensible precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood you’ll be a victim of crime – and ensure your home insurance will cover you should the worst happen. Here are his top tips to keep your stuff safe:
1. Don’t keep presents on view, and always close your curtains after dark. Don’t keep receipts with your presents either, as this could enable a thief to return what you’ve bought in exchange for cold hard cash.
2. Don’t put wrapping and discarded boxes out for refuse collection too early, and consider concealing it among other types of rubbish. Obvious packaging left outside your property could alert a burglar to the presence of high value items – just the kinds of things they will target.
3. Check that your doors and windows are locked when they aren’t in use. According to Northampton Borough Council, one in four burglaries occurs because the homeowner forgot to lock up properly.
4. Secure outside decorations and Christmas lights. According to research conducted by GoCompare.com, 12% of homes had decorations stolen last Christmas!
5. Make sure you have the right level of home contents insurance. If you’re spending a small fortune on gifts at Christmas, remember to inform your insurer that you’ll have new, expensive items under your roof. Your premium is unlikely to rocket, but letting them know will afford you peace of mind should your home be burgled. Taking photographs of valuables will also help with the identification of goods should they be stolen, and will make any insurance claim you submit easier to process.
Whenever I usually head off at Christmas (and any other time of year) I use a plug-timer to turn the lights on and off and fool burglars to think we’re in. It’s done the job so far, which is pretty impressive given that I live in a less-than-salubrious part of London. Do you use any similar measures – and what are your top tips for keeping your stuff safe at Christmas?