Top tips: How to prevent Christmas burglaries
Many of us are making our homes a target for burglars according to a recent survey.
As Dom Littlewood told us, many of the thieves believe that our houses are at their most vulnerable over Christmas, when we're out meeting friends and leaving presents wrapped tantalisingly under the tree.
The risk of burglary doesn't end after the presents have been opened. The number of break-ins usually increases after Christmas, reaching its peak on New Year's Eve.
It's worth checking what insurance cover you have if the worst does happen. Many home contents policies automatically increase their cover during the festive season, but a quick call to your insurer will make sure you're protected for the extra goodies under your tree.
Dom's tips to reduce your chances of a Christmas burglary
- Look at your house like a burglar would, Christmas is the only time of year when we advertise all the goods in our house to such an extent.
- Don't hide your presents in obvious places like under the bed or in the wardrobe. Thieves are less likely to get into the attic.
- Before wrapping presents jot down model and serial numbers. Keep receipts separate so you have a record and thieves can't return your items to the shop.
- Don't put gifts under the tree, or if you do, pull your curtains!
- After opening presents put your postcode on with a permanent marker to make them harder to sell on and therefore less attractive to thieves - they are also more likely to be returned to you by police if found.
- Rip up present boxes and take them to the tip - they are an indication that a house has brand new and valuable contents.
- Make it look like you're in when you're out at Christmas parties and don't make your house vulnerable - keep lights on, windows and gates locked, use alarms and keep a car in the driveway (according to the Home Office, no force is required in as many as a fifth of burglaries because doors and windows are left open)
- Secure sheds just as well as houses - they contain just the tools a burglar needs to get into your house. Garden forks are particularly useful as are makeshift ladders like wheelie bins and trampolines so keep them chained up.
- Home Office burglary pack - The Home Office have produced an information pack to help you protect your home from burglars.
How do you protect your home from burglars? Share your top tips.