10 Tips to Beat the Burglar this Christmas & New Year
The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories is commonplace, unfortunately though it provides thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.
Read these tips to ensure your home is secure over Christmas and the New Year.
Deterring would-be criminals is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention . Invest in a motion sensor flood-light or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home's exterior. This will hopefully make approaching your home too conspicuous for a burglar. Also, highlighting the fact your possessions are security marked and registered on Immobilise using window decals provide a further warning that your goods are traceable and not worth the risk of stealing!
Festive lighting - be secure . A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.
Dispose of gift packaging carefully. Refuse collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times. If you can't take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to break apart boxes so that they do not advertise your new contents of your home to thieves!
Be careful not to advertise your home to burglars on social media! According to one recent study, social media is a commonly used tool for scouting potential targets. Social media savvy families have a tendency to publish their whereabouts during the holiday season, including any vacation plans. This lets burglars know when your house is going to be empty. Uploaded photos of pricey Christmas gifts can also be a problem as it basically allows burglars to go shopping just by viewing your Facebook profile.
Check doors and windows for weak spots . Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window hinges could increase the security of your home exponentially.
Keep your curtains, drapes and window blinds closed at night , making sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.
Away over Christmas - plan ahead!! . If you're going away at Christmas be sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Do not to leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages or and again make use of light timers.
Secure garages & sheds . Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment - make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools. Naturally make sure anything portable / valuable is recorded on immobilise.
Don't hide keys & use alarms if you have them . Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don't hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbour. Many houses these days have alarms, many though are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home.
And lastly, don't forget to register your gifts on Immobilise! Most consumer electricals have a unique identification code such as a serial number or for mobile phones an IMEI number - This IMEI number can be found quickly and easily by pressing the following keys on your mobile handset: * # 0 6 # . If your gift doesn't have a unique identifier there are several affordable marking kits available from the Immobilise store allowing the police to easily identify the owners of items they recover and so detect crime.
Hopefully your property will not be targeted by burglars and the advice provided helps to keep your home safe. From everyone at Immobilise have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Stay safe this Christmas ( December 2012 )
We are spoiling Christmas for criminals and will be doing everything we can to keep you safe over the festive period. Please see below our top crime prevention tips for keeping yourself, your home and your valuables safe over the festive period.
Keeping your home and valuables safe
Spoil Christmas for criminals – don't give them an easy way to get their hands on your presents:
•Fit a burglar alarm & good outside lighting & check them both regularly.
•Santa comes down the chimney – burglars will use an unlocked door or window. Lock up to lock them out.
•Keep presents out of view both at home and on the back seat of your car so they don't provide temptation for passing thieves.
•Crafty crooks will hook keys through letterboxes so don't leave your set near your front door.
•Mark your new valuable items with your postcode & note down make/model/serial numbers.
Keeping your car and its contents safe
Having to pay for repairs to damage caused by criminals is an unwelcome expense and you may also have to cover the cost of replacing any presents you've been keeping in your car.
To avoid this:
•Stay with your car while it is defrosting.
•Always lock doors and close windows.
•Keep valuables out of sight. Better yet – remove them from the car completely.
Keep a shovel, torch, blanket, bottles of water, sturdy outdoor footwear and a charged mobile phone in your car in case you break down this Christmas.
Staying safe on a night out
Hopefully you will be out enjoying the festive spirit this Christmas. Stay safe while out and about:
•Have a plan on how you will get home safely.
•Use a legitimate taxi company, asking for the driver's name and checking it when they arrive.
•Use busy, well-lit routes if you have to walk.
•Walk facing oncoming traffic.
•Have your keys ready as you approach you car.
•Park in well lit areas.
Staying safe when shopping
Whether you have an organised schedule or are panic buying, here's a few tips on staying safe while shopping:
•Keep you bag with you at all times.
•Keep purses, wallets and mobiles in your inside pockets and out of view.
•Carry handbags across your body with the flap facing you.
•Always park in well lit car parks.
•Keep your car locked and don't leave valuables on display
Staying safe online
Avoiding the crowds and shopping online? Follow our handy hints and avoid internet fraudsters:
•Always use secure sites. Look for the padlock symbol.
•Always keep printouts of online documentation.
•Never disclose you bank or card details as proof of identity or age.
•Only transmit your financial details by secure email ie through a secure website.
•Register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode when prompted.
•Log out when you have finished shopping.
Keep an eye out for our Christmas crime prevention goodies! Our neighbourhood police teams will be giving out free jingle bell purse alarms to help you keep your valuables safe while out shopping for presents. They also have air fresheners for you to put in your car as a reminder to lock up when you get out.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ‐ BEWARE OF COLD CALLERS/SALESMEN KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR
Trading Standards advice is:
1. NEVER agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call. Don’t
make snap decisions and don’t be pressurised into having the job done.
2. If you think work needs doing to your home, get quotes from two or
three traders. Ask friends and relatives to recommend a reputable
3. Ask for the full name and address from a trader BEFORE considering
dealing with them. Never rely solely on a mobile phone number.
4. Ask for a written quotation detailing all the proposed work and a final
price for the job.
5. Only pay once the work is completed to your satisfaction. Don’t pay
cash. Don’t pay money up front for trader’s materials.
6. Check the identity of all callers to your home. Ask for photo
identification even if the caller claims to be from a utility company, the
police or local authority. Check it carefully with the telephone number
in the phone book, NOT the number on the ID card.
IF IN DOUBT DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
REPORT ANY SUSPICIOUS CALLERS TO THE
'CITIZENS ADVICE CONSUMER HELPLINE' ‐ 08454 04 05 06
For more information about the Safe Trader Scheme
visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111