Home security is always important, but around Christmas it becomes even more crucial. Not only do the longer nights mean burglary rates tend to rise, your house will also contain the gifts you are intending to give to your loved ones.
Having these stolen - and thieves will know to target them, as they are likely to be valuable - would have a major emotional impact as well as a financial one. The safer you can make your house this Christmas, the better!
If you haven't already got one installed, SECOM have a range of home security systems that will help you remain safe and crime-free this Christmas. However, there are also a number of simple actions you can take to make sure your family has a great Christmas this year.
Here are our six top tips for home security that, when combined with a good alarm system, should keep your home safe this Christmas:
Keep your presents out of sight
It's lovely to have a Christmas tree with plenty of presents underneath it, but while this certainly helps you get in the festive mood it can also be a security risk. If your gifts are visible from outside, this means thieves will be able to work out how to get to them just by taking a walk outside your home.
If there are no presents on display, criminals will think twice about breaking into your home. They won't want to take time searching for your valuables, as this makes it more likely they will get caught - particularly if you have a SECOM security system!
Make your home seem occupied
Christmas is a time for visiting family, so you might well be leaving your house empty for a while. Unfortunately, burglars are much more likely to target your home while nobody is around, so they might attempt to break in if they notice you aren't there.
A good way to counter this is to keep a light on and a radio tuned to a talk show. From the outside, this will seem like there are people inside your house talking to each other. A criminal is much less likely to attempt a break-in if they think the house is occupied.
Don't rely on a single door lock
You probably already know to keep your door securely locked at all times. However, you might find that this is not enough. A single lock means there is only one thing between a burglar and your valuables, after all.
You can invest in a range of items to make it harder for burglars to get through your door. A deadbolt or door chain is a simple but effective way to keep thieves out. SECOM also offers a wireless door contact that can sound an alarm if your door is opened, which is likely to scare criminals off before they've been able to enter your house.
Make sure your front door is visible from the street
If you have large hedges, fences or other things in front of your home, you might want to think about having a remodel. These items can make it hard to see your front door, which can be a security risk.
With the entrance to your home hidden from view, thieves can try to break in without having to worry about being spotted. If you make sure as much of your house is visible, it will leave criminals with nowhere to hide.
Make sure your windows are locked
It might seem really simple, but so many people forget to lock their windows when they go out. You probably won't have many open in the cold winter months, but you still need to double-check they are locked before you leave the house.
Even small windows need to be secured. All it takes is a gap the size of a human head for someone to be able to squeeze through into your home, so a criminal could force an unlocked window open and break in that way.
Don't forget about your garage
Finally, you need to make sure your garage is secure. Old garage doors are surprisingly easy to break into, and this can be a weak point for many homes. This should especially be the case if you can easily get into the rest of your home from your garage.
You can install an electric garage door to make it much harder to break into. There will be no lock or handle on the outside for criminals to use, and roller shutters are strong and resistant to damage. This way, thieves won't be able to get into your garage, keeping your home safe.