"Installing a home security system will do more than just let you know if someone is trying to break in."
Whilst you might not want to take advice from Kevin McAllister for home security, with booby traps and dancing mannequins, it’s still important to take some sensible precautions.
Each year, crime increases around the festive season, and to help you protect your property, smart home and security specialist, Somfy, have put together their top tips for keeping your home safe and secure.
1. Lock up and double check
If you’re going to be away from your home over Christmas it’s important to lock all your doors and windows, and double check them before you leave! Hard to reach windows, such as upstairs can still be easily targeted and as homeowners often leave bathroom windows open, even in the cooler months, this is something that should be top of your list.
You can even invest in extra locks for back doors and bolt them from the inside before you leave.
2. Consider a smart alarm or security camera
Upgrading your security system and alarms is money well spent, especially those that are accessible via your smartphone, as you can check on your property whilst away for peace of mind. You can also set your system up so that your smartphone will alert you should someone try to break in.
“Installing a home security system will do more than just let you know if someone is trying to break in. Security cameras act as excellent deterrents for thieves, and footage can also be used to identify individuals,” said Kevin van der Steen, product manager for Access and Smart Home at Somfy.
3. Don’t hide a key
This applies all year round, but the temptation may be greater at Christmas if different family members are in and out of the house. If you’re away, thieves will often find it. Give a key to your neighbours, family, or friends rather than hiding it under a plant pot.
4. Make it look like you’re at home
You don’t have to go full Home Alone, but creating the impression you’re at home can deter a break-in. Timed lighting is a good place to start and even just keeping a car parked in the drive can help. Investing in electric blinds is a great way to create the illusion of being at home when you’re not and making your home look lively – especially when you can control them from your phone.
You can also do simple things such as tidying the garden before you leave and cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries as these are clear signs you’re not home if they start to build up.
5. Hide the gifts
Hiding gifts in the run-up to Christmas is half the battle when it comes to a busy household but the importance of leaving presents out of sight from potential trespassers is extremely important.
Storing presents in the loft or a cupboard is one of the best options. If you like having presents under the tree for decorative purposes, wrap up a couple of empty boxes – this also means you won’t be showcasing expensive purchases in your recycling either!
6. Don’t shout about being out and about
If you like to share a picture of every festive meal out, drinks with friends or an afternoon spent at the Christmas market, it might be best posted when you’re back home. Putting your plans on social media when you’re out and about, can be something that may attract people to your home, if they know you’re not there.
Oversharing presents you’ve purchased on social media could have the same effect so don’t get too comfortable broadcasting an empty home or your Christmas shopping, as you don’t know who may see it.
Burglaries can’t always be prevented, but by taking precautionary measures, you can keep you, your family, and your property safer. By following some of these steps, you can enjoy staying elsewhere over the festive period or your busy schedule in the run up to the big day.