Watch Out There is a Thief About This Christmas

by : tony roberts

Do not make your home an easy target this Christmas

Burglars' swag bags are set to be brimming for the next few weeks as we first hide presents in obvious places then throw out the packaging to advise what we have inside then, to top it all, we leave them all ripe for the taking while we party away on New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve is the festive season's worst day for burglary, according to insurance company claims data. Homes are 25% more likely to be burgled on 31 December than on a normal day as thieves take advantage of partygoers who leave their homes unoccupied and full of expensive gifts.

What's more, the cost of a burglary over the festive season can be up to ?350 higher than on a normal day due to all the extra goodies in the home, according to the insurer. The average burglary claim is around ?1200.

So Insurance companies are urging homeowners to take extra security precautions over the festive season to ensure spirits are not dampened by thieves on the lookout for newly unwrapped presents.

What's more, research shows that homeowners help burglars by hiding presents in obvious locations around the home such as wardrobes, under the bed, or in the garden shed.

Everyone wants to put their presents under the tree for Christmas but before the big day ensure they're tucked away somewhere safe and not in full view to every passer-by.'

'The attic or loft is a good hiding place for presents - your average burglar doesn't have time to climb into your attic and it's also safe from excited children desperate to get a sneak preview of what they can expect on Christmas morning.'

'And at New Year make sure you double check your home before you embark on your night on the town - you don't want to begin 2007 with a burglary.'

Tips to a safe and happy Christmas:

Do not discard whole gift boxes in your dustbin, as this could give thieves easy clues about what they might find in your home! Instead, try breaking them up into small pieces and place them in your recycling bin or in a sealed bin bag

If you are out on New Year's Eve, leave lights on, ensure all doors and windows are securely locked and expensive gifts not in full view

Avoid leaving the keys in the lock inside when double locking - this will prevent burglars using the hook and cane method through your letterbox

Consider installing a burglar alarm either by an approved contractor or failing that by purchasing a system from one of the DIY chains. 'Dummy Covers' are a deterrent but if you can afford it a real one is better.

Fit a motion sensor light, which will work at any time whether you are in or out of the house.