At this time of year, many people will travel to friends and relatives to enjoy festive events and visits. In all the excitement, it could be easy to leave your property vulnerable to opportunist, or organised thieves. However following a few simple steps can help increase your security and peace of mind.
Check everything is locked and secure
This may sound obvious, but if you are taking presents or bags out of the home and into a car over several trips, then when you are sure you have everything safely packed in the car, take the time to return to the house and double check everything is shut up and closed properly. This includes checking windows, doors, gates, garages and sky lights. If you have a cat or dog flap and you are taking your pet with you, then secure the flap before leaving as well.
Keep valuables out of sight
At Christmas time, it can be traditional to leave gifts under the tree, or hung up in stockings. However this can make them vulnerable – especially if they can be seen through windows or doors. A burglar would only need to spot a car missing from the drive to consider making the most of an opportunity to break in and take these valuables. So to avoid tears, keep them where they can’t be seen. This should also apply to your other goods – the addition of net curtains or shutters can be an effective method for obscuring your valuables and deterring thieves.
Set an alarm
Many houses have burglar alarms fitted these days, but in today’s busy lifestyle, how many of us actually remember to set them? Sparing just a few minutes to do this task though is really worth the effort. If the worst were to happen and someone did break in, the alarm should not only warn off the intruder, but it should raise the attentions of yourself, neighbours or passers-by and lead to police responding to assist. Many alarms also have night settings – which get triggered by movement on just the ground floor, so there is no reason not to make a habit of setting it at night too.
Make friends with your neighbours
If you aren’t friends with them already, make the most of the festive season to get to know your neighbours. Then, you can share contact numbers in case of emergency whenever either of you go on trips. While hopefully they will not be needed, you can enjoy your time away all the more, simply through this improved peace of mind.
Be a good neighbour yourself
If you keep an eye on your own neighbours too, then it will be easier for you to spot suspicious new-comers hanging around that shouldn’t be. Often burglars will go and check-out their targets in advance, so look out for cars or vans driving around your road with no obvious purpose, or strangers ringing the doorbells. They may be keeping an eye out for properties with high value goods on show through the windows and poor security, to return to later. Try to remember any key details about what they looked like, or their registration plate and report anything suspicious to neighbours, local Neighbourhood Watch or the police so you can all be vigilant.