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Christmas stay-at-homers still risk being burgled

Cartoon of Santa stealing presents

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?

Pauline Hopkins says:
24 December 2010

We have always used timers, for switching lights on and off.
But due to a spate of buglaries in our area. We have decided to have
a burglar alarm fitted. But have gone on recommendation of others
that have had it done.

They will get in if they really want to. You really cannot stay in all
the time.

Several large dogs trained to bark at intruders works very well for me.

We were burgled quite a number of years ago – despite the fact we had three large dogs! Admittedly they were not in the house and were rather wimpy Gundogs, but would have created quite a racket when hearing someone on the go.
However, I can vividly remember being told afterwards by the Police: ‘if no one comes within a few minutes of dogs barking, thieves are not deterred by it.’

Rather negates the purpose of the dogs somewhat – my dogs are in the house all the time. My large German Shepherd bit one intruder and pinned another to the wall – My Large Lurcher bit someone who put their hand through the letter box. There are large notices warning of them. My dogs can detect an ‘intruder’ before they open the garden gate,

My present three are hunting dogs – not gun dogs – They tend to cause many people to cross the road when on our walks as they are very tall.

In all honesty – my dogs rush at the door barking loudly – the door shakes as they jump at it – excellent deterrent. Most postman and callers wait on the other side of the garden gate.

I was told the opposite – that the barking will cause the opportunist thief to look elsewhere . But if someone is determined to break in – then nothing will stop them.

Chain Reaction DNA says:
29 December 2010

The security efforts we make as homeowners determine whether we become a victim of crime or not? The installation of a home alarm with a visible bell box installed back and front of the property is indeed a good deterrent to protect your possessions whilst you are away.

Deterrent being the operative word!

There are a few thoughts running through a burglars mind when they are committing offences! One of those thoughts being NOT getting caught!

Two thirds of all burglaries committed in the United Kingdom last year were through a door!

[Comment edited by mods – we don’t allow comments to advertise your own products, but thanks for posting the thoughts above]