Securing your home this Christmas
The lead up to Christmas
Always busy and for lots of us many last minute things to do or buy. The main thing very much like being on holiday is not to inadvertently let your guard down during this festive period and keep the same level of vigilance as you do throughout the year, the criminal element each year look at this time as a window of opportunity when pickings are good! Humbug I hear you say – it’s about not only thinking about security but your own personal safety so you can look back in the New Year thinking what an absolutely fantastic time you, your friends and family had.
Park in a well-lit area, there is a web site www.parkmark.co.uk that you can use which show which car parks have been assessed for your security. Don’t leave valuables in bags or anything in view, even coins in an ashtray run the risk of having your window smashed. Put possessions, coats anything in the boot before you lock up. Make sure car is double locked – 2 presses of the key fob – and never leave a spare key under a wheel arch! When going back to your vehicle good idea to have keys already in hand so you don’t need to be routing through any bags by the side of your car in the dark.
Pickpocketing and opportunist theft
This is the first thing when you’re out shopping to be aware of. Worth having a coat with deep pockets where you can keep your mobile than in a bag, do you need to be out wearing expensive jewellery or watches in crowded places? Limit the amount of cash or even split it up into different pockets whilst keeping debit or credit cards handy to avoid shuffling through bags to find your wallet or purse. Avoid having wallet in back pocket have in front. Make sure you have kept a record of card and telephone numbers in case you have to cancel anything in an emergency. If you are shopping with a friend have the bags between you, bags over a shoulder than round your neck for safety and definitely don’t leave any bags over the back of a chair whilst stopped for a coffee or bite to eat. If you need to draw any money out be careful no one can see your PIN. Any expensive purchases it is worth heading straight home with them or collect them from store when you have finished shopping. Simple things like taking some large bags so you can transfer smaller items into them help. Always worth having a personal alarm with scores of decent police approved ones listed online.
Are you working in a shop or business?
Think about receptions being left unattended, visitors how are they monitored, unexpected maintenance being carried out? Depending on circumstance possibly be prepared to question contractors or people loitering if safe to do so. The times to be at your most vigilant are at least 30 mins before opening and closing up, not everyone is leaving with colleagues so if a lone worker assess the situation to minimise the risk especially if working late.
The common sense things are where we all from time to time fall down such as leaving items unattended or valuables on show, and making sure safes, cashboxes are locked and protect access to passwords and keys – don’t let your standards slip just because you can hear jingle bells being played lulling you into a false sense of security. Be aware of the people around you, not everyone enjoys this time of year, things could have happened causing depression, moods swings and people to act out of character – be prepared to slow down, be patient, listen and look for signals that could potentially escalate, think about your safety and the safety of others around you.
Don’t leave your home a target when out
All kinds of things are going on, Christmas parties, events, shopping; carol services so make sure you are not a target either out and about or at home.
When you are out there are plenty of things you can do to make the place look occupied, security lighting, motion detectors, time set switches for lights and lamps to come on at different intervals, leaving a radio or TV on….but think where to draw the line, always give consideration to how many Christmas lights are plugged in and are you overloading with risk of fire, so remember to turn these type off before going out or going to bed.
More and more people are having open fires, candles make sure they are out before leaving and heaters blowing warm air into rooms are switched off as these almost certainly set off your alarm whilst out if a motion detector is in the same room.
So come on let’s not make it easy for burglars and thieves!
The majority of the time crimes are committed by opportunists so there are some very simple things we can do.
I mentioned a good place to start was making a place look occupied when you’re out, though when you are in still be careful that you are not openly displaying all your wears and shackles to all and sundry from the street.
If you are away a few days
Cancel papers, milk and do you have a friend or neighbour who can move any build-up of visible post and mountain of flyers pushed through your letter box and open and close curtains – all indications that can indicate you are away! If you have good neighbours let one park on your drive whilst your away to make house look occupied. Have you ordered anything online, can these be delivered to a family friend or neighbour if you know you are going to be away as strangely enough sometimes couriers are told ok to leave for instance inside a porch. Tell me you don’t still leave a key in a garden somewhere in case you lose your keys, not a good idea. Christmas lighting on outside of house, how are you doing the cabling? Having wires going through open windows is going to make you a target. Look for obvious weak spots on your doors and windows.
Don’t give away too much information on yourself
If you have an outdoor post box is your name on it, in an age of mobile phones you’d think no one has a landline anymore but you’d be wrong, with a name and address it’s easy to find these out and be rang from outside, if they can hear it ring and not being picked up it’s a good indication with all the above tricks you are out. Even worse, don’t change you answerphone message to say you are away on holiday……aaaaargh !!! J
We haven’t even got to the obvious ones yet, yes Facebook and other social networking sites, we all do it, putting on posts with nice pictures advertising you are all at the Christmas markets drinking mulled wine and having a merry old time, how easy can we make it to advertise no one is at home.
External buildings such as sheds & garages
Are they properly secured, a favourite in top 10 items stolen is bicycles, gone are the days of an old Chopper costing a few quid now we can be talking several hundred and over a thousand pounds, so padlocks, additional security, alarms, security lights are great starting points, because also often the very tools needed to help them break into your house are tools they’ve acquired from your own shed and garage. Let’s not make it easy. A good place to register you bike in case stolen is “Bike Register” and if retrieved you find a good chance of getting your bike back.
So Christmas comes & all OK – What happens next?
We chuck out the rubbish, so unless you’re taking it to a tip, all the packaging of new presents and gifts, some could be expensive could be on show before collection day. Also in the things you throw out be wary of receipts or anything with your private details on, these need to be shredded.
Some of the most popular items targeted are laptops, tablets, camera’s, golfing equipment, audio & TV – on these electrical items where possible make sure the security features are on, on mobiles there are Apps so you can track your phone on GPS if it goes missing, make sure any theft of your mobile is reported immediately to phone provider and take advise. Another big target is power tools which are easily sold on. So, make sure where possible to take serial numbers and pictures of high value items, a huge help in getting back your stolen items is using property marking and register through www.immobilise.com
Always better than cure and the best form of crime prevention, for help and advice with this give us a call.
If you are unlucky to be a victim of a break in, advice is free with Timpson Locksmiths and we do free security surveys to see if anything additional needs fitting, look at and recommend alternatives if they offer a better solution, fresh ideas or if simply anything needs upgrading because sometimes things that may have been fit for purpose 20 years ago may easily be overcome now from a security point of view.
A great link is below to the Master Locksmith Association website giving lots of advice
The Link below is from ABI – Association if British Insurers (Insurance advice on Home Security) www.abi.org.uk
Remember if you have had a break in criminals know there is a likelihood in a months’ time you will have had a pay out on the insurance, and possibly, and unfortunately try again as aware you will have all new replacements by then. So the moral is make sure your security the best it can be to start with, be preventative, but in the event of being broken into re-evaluate your security ASAP.
Think how you can make things difficult for a burglar or opportunist,
Plan your own personal safety whilst out,
Above all have a great Christmas and New Year.