The whirlwind of Christmas comes and goes after weeks of building up to the big day but once it’s over people want to relax and that’s when they drop their guard. Cleaning up after Christmas is something you’ll often say can wait especially when you’re on the sofa full of dinner and surrounded by your loved ones. However, this is what festive burglars count on, for lazy families to make simple mistakes that put their home, gifts and festive cheer at risk.
As in many aspects of security, social media plays a crucial role in protecting yourselves and your property over the festive period. Following the exchange of presents on the big day your news feeds are full of people showing off their gifts and gadgets for the next few days whether it’s by pictures of their haul on Instagram or messages of gratitude on their families Facebook pages. This turns your profiles into a burglars shopping list, not just of what they can get from you but who are the wealthier members of the family to target. For this reason, we encourage you to not show off what you’ve gained this Christmas over the internet and say thank you in person, it will make the gift itself feel even more special.
Usually people will spend the period of time between Christmas and New Year using their presents and admiring their gifts before they eventually find themselves tucked in the back of the wardrobe or taken to the charity shop once you’ve worn them out. You will commonly find these items in neat piles in the living room around the tree, refusing to clean them up because you want to appreciate what you have. Unfortunately, burglars know this is what happens and in the few days after Christmas they target people with gifts still under their tree because it’s quicker for them to take what is in reach rather than raid your home. Don’t put it off until January 1st; get your gifts tidied up and put away as soon as possible.
'people can look through your waste for things they can use fraudulently or to find out what you have of worth inside'
Whilst cleaning up the mess over the holiday period your rubbish bins become very full and with bank holidays sometimes changing collection days you end up with more than usual filling up your wheelie bin. You should not leave your bins outside unless it’s the day of collection otherwise people can look through your waste for things they can use fraudulently or to find out what you have of worth inside. This is even more true at Christmas, especially when you have large boxes from bikes or televisions waiting to be collected with the recycling. It is recommended to take your holiday rubbish directly to local refuse centre instead of waiting for a collection to deter thieves from thinking there are gifts of worth inside your home.
If you aren’t at home over the festive break it’s even more important to keep your house clean over Christmas. This means not letting Christmas cards pile up at the front door or present deliveries hide in your shed. You should consider using the Royal Mail Keepsafe service to stop deliveries whilst you’re away or ask a trusted neighbour to move the post and check on the property. They may also be able to turn your lights on and off, or open and close your curtains to create a sense of Mockupancy. Luckily Christmas decorations light up houses making it hard for thieves to approach homes unnoticed so leave your Christmas lights on with a timer to and then no one may notice that you’re away.
Whether you are home or away, it is more important than ever to double check your home is locked up and secure over Christmas because it becomes a popular time for opportunistic criminals to try their luck. Whilst home make sure your doors are locked to prevent someone entering whilst you are in the property, and when opening the front door make sure your back door is locked to avoid being the victim of a distraction burglary. There are a lot more opportunities to distract people with festivities at this time of year such as carol singers or a passing Santa float. The best thing to do is always check your locks twice; as they say it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you are tidying up the ripped wrapping paper and washing up the turkey pan, think back to these points and don’t allow the relief of the big day being over stop you from cleaning up your home in the safest possible way. It is unfortunate that this wonderful time of year can be taken advantage of by criminals, but by getting a better education on burglary you can work towards a safer neighbourhood and a greater peace of mind.
For more advice on a Smart outlook to your security, visit our website where you can let us know what you’d like to learn about in the next blog – now that is Smart.