No matter how nice you've been all year, there are some naughty people out there who wouldn't think twice about sneaking down your chimney to steal your presents, and maybe even your car.
The holiday season is prime time for thieves who take advantage of well-lit glimpses into gift-filled homes and unattended parcels on doorsteps. Whether you're spending the holidays at home or away, everyone is at a heightened risk for theft during this period.
Don't spend the lead up to Christmas worrying about whether or not your home is safe. Read up on these quick tips for minimising your risk of property theft over the holidays.
If you're staying in
Even if you're staying home for the holidays, there's still a risk that someone may try to break in to steal presents or other valuables. Holiday commitments like dinners, parties and shopping means your home isn't always occupied, leaving thieves with an open window to help themselves.
If you're going out for a couple hours, keep a couple lights on to make it look like you're still home and do not publicise your whereabouts on social media.
Also ensure that you haven't left any tools around while decorating your house that could assist burglars with gaining access to your home, like ladders.
Most importantly, keep your gifts and holiday shopping out of sight and to take an inventory of everything you've purchased just in case things do get stolen.
And speaking of gifts, you may want to think about adding a home security system to your own Christmas wish list.
If you're expecting parcels
The convenience and popularity of online shopping over the holidays also comes with a big increase in package theft. If you've ordered something online or are anticipating a package from someone, make sure you will be home when it arrives to prevent thieves from stealing your parcel.
To help manage your delivery, always obtain a tracking number for your order. You can request a signature on delivery or redirect the parcel to your workplace if you know you won't be home when it arrives.
If you're going away
If you're not hanging around for the holidays, make sure you leave your house in the most secure state as possible before you go.
Start by letting your neighbours know where you are going and how long you will be gone for. Leave them with an emergency contact number they can call in case something happens to your property.
It's also a good idea to invest in some self-timing indoor and outdoor lights. These will create the illusion that you are home, which could help deter thieves. A better alternative would be to have someone house-sit for you so your house remains occupied, or at the very least, ask friends and family to stop by regularly. While they are there, ask them to collect your mail so it doesn't pile up, making it look obvious that you're away.
Quick Tips Cheat Sheet
Here are our top ten takeaways.
- Remember the basics – it’s no good installing locks and then not using them.
- Make sure everyone in your home is equally security conscious. Have a routine that everyone follows to check door and window locks when the house is left unoccupied.
- Tell your neighbours if your home is broken into – then they can remember to be extra careful and alert to report any suspicious activity to police.
- Don’t assume balcony doors or high windows are safe to leave unlocked – thieves are good at finding ways to overcome these obstacles.
- Store easy-to-carry, expensive items such as laptops and jewellery away and out of sight so thieves can’t see them – consider installing a safe.
- Don’t leave doors or windows wide open for long periods even while you’re at home.
- Don’t leave car keys and wallets beside open windows or doors – car keys are being targeted by thieves.
- Engage deadlocks when you leave the house so that thieves cannot carry items out through your main doors.
- If you can’t arrange for someone to collect your mail when you’re on holiday, ask the post office to hold it until you return. Also, attach a ‘no advertising material’ sign to your letterbox so it doesn’t overflow.
- Consider installing motion activated external lights, home alarm and security camera systems that will deter thieves.
Of course in the event that you do have a break-in, your home and contents insurance should have you covered. If you don't have a policy, just ring us on 13 YOUI to get peace of mind this holiday season.