If we’re not careful, Santa Claus might not be the only one making his way into your home this Christmas, warns the Master Locksmith Association. The leading trade association for the locksmith industry is encouraging homeowners to remain vigilant in the run up to the festive period when burglaries traditionally peak.
Christmas is an exciting time, what with parties, presents and prosecco, but there are those who look forward to Christmas for very different reasons. Homes fill up with presents waiting to be wrapped and are often left empty while families are out and about enjoying the festivities, therefore opportune criminals are more likely to strike, and statistics show that burglaries increase by up to 38% over the winter months.
Over the festive period, homeowners are being advised to:
Keep gifts out of sight: While it may be traditional to keep gifts under the tree during the weeks leading up to Christmas, this can also be an advertisement to potential thieves. Consider placing yours out of sight and away from the window, in particular away from those that look onto busy streets.
Double check windows and doors: Make sure all windows and doors are locked before leaving the house, even if you’re only popping out for a few minutes.
Make it look like someone is home: Adding a timer system to your lights requires very little effort to operate and can work as an excellent deterrent against would-be-thieves especially when used upstairs or away from sight. Many burglaries occur in the afternoon, ahead of people returning home from work so make sure to set the lights to come on as it gets dark, creating the impression someone is home.
Be careful of those Christmas lights: Use or install outdoor electrical sockets for those Christmas lights and, whatever you do – don’t be tempted to run cables for outdoor lights through partially open windows or doors
Don’t advertise an empty home: While Christmas is a time for enjoying the occasion with family and loved ones, if you do plan on spending the festive season away from your home don’t shout about it on social media. Posting your plans online can potentially inform thousands of strangers your home will be empty.
Dr Steffan George, development director of The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), said: “The run up to Christmas should be a time of excitement, but we often see homes targeted by thieves at this time of year who hope to make off with some early Christmas presents of their own. By taking a few simple precautions, homeowners can do a lot to deter potential thieves – keep presents out of sight, make sure you double check windows and doors are locked and don’t advertise your festive plans on social media.”
If you would like extra peace of mind, ask an MLA-approved locksmith to review the security of your home – they will check things like doors and windows, making sure they have adequate locks and meet your insurance requirements, so you won’t be left with a large bill if the worst does happen.
To find a locksmith in your area visit the user-friendly MLA website at www.locksmiths.co.uk. To review a list of independently tested and approved security products visit the Sold Secure website at: www.soldsecure.com. Security guidelines for domestic properties can also be downloaded free of charge from http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/security-advice/security-guidelines-for-domestic-dwellings/.