Burglary claims peak in December
According to home insurance provider, Direct Line, the dates when you need to be most vigilant over Christmas are the 5th, 6th, 11th, 17th and 18th December. Statistically these are the dates when most break ins take place over the Christmas period. More insurance claims are made during December than any other month of the year.
It’s not difficult to see why. The lure of all those brand new Christmas presents is just too good an opportunity to miss for burglars. They’re particularly looking for bicycles, games consoles, phones, laptops, tablets and cameras – all common gifts.
Your home is most vulnerable in the late afternoon/early evening after darkness has fallen but before you’re home from work. Weekend evenings when you’re out at Christmas parties are also popular as they can take their time knowing you’ll likely be out until late.
Could you making your home more vulnerable to a Christmas burglary?
Without really being aware of it, many of us are unwittingly helping burglars to target our homes. Choosing which home to break into is rarely a random act; they will seek out the homes that appear to offer the most promising yield with the least amount of effort. By offering clues to what you have and failing to take physical security measures you could be shining a spotlight straight on your home.
Things you SHOULD NOT do
To minimise the risk of a break in, consider the following:
- DO NOT leave presents under the Christmas tree if they can be seen through the window
- One of the first things a burglar will do is have a look to see if they can spot anything that looks like it could be worth having
- DO NOT hide gifts in obvious places
- If children can find their presents under the bed or at the back of the wardrobe then so can a burglar. These are often the first places they’ll look
- DO NOT post about the expensive presents you’re buying on social media
- You may as well be writing their wish list for Santa!
- DO NOT ‘check in’ on nights out or post about going out on social media
- You’re effectively declaring that your house is empty and waiting to be burgled
- DO NOT dispose of the packaging from expensive items in the bin
- Burglars are not beyond going through your bin to see what treasures may be available to them in the house so the packaging from phones and gadgets would give them a big clue. This obviously applies after Christmas well once Santa has been! Either disguise packaging well by thoroughly shredding it or placing inside other bags or take it to a recycling centre.
Things you SHOULD do
- It seems like such an obvious thing but with almost a third of burglaries being classed as ‘insecure’ break ins, it’s clearly not obvious enough for many
- DO set your alarm if you have one
- Just having an intruder alarm is not enough; you need to use it. Many people who have an alarm don’t bother setting it unless they’re on holiday. Get into the habit of always setting it, not only when you go out but when you’re in bed as well.
- DO leave lights on when out
- Or indeed, do anything that makes your home look occupied. The cost of leaving the lights on is much lower than the cost of a break in. Ideally have timers on your lights so that they come on as it’s getting dark even if you’re still at work. Some smart systems will allow you to turn the lights on remotely, so you can vary the time slightly every day for extra realism
- DO keep smaller valuable items in a safe
- Smaller items like jewellery and small devices should ideally be stored in a safe for an extra layer of security. When giving cash at Christmas it can be tempting to draw it out early and put aside but don’t do this unless you have a secure place to keep it.
Stay secure throughout the Christmas period
We may have revealed the dates you’re most at risk of being burgled but you should obviously remain as security conscious throughout the Christmas period and into the New Year. Nothing is as likely to ensure a pretty miserable Christmas as a break in.