For many people, Christmas is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate and be merry. However, for criminals, burglars and opportunistic thieves, it is an excellent time to target people’s homes for cash, credit cards and items such as electronic items, computers, jewellery and other valuables that can be sold easily.
Whilst you may be enjoying the Christmas festivities this year it is important to remain vigilant. South Yorkshire Police is particular are keen to remind residents in our area about the dangers of burglars and opportunistic thieves by launching the
#Don’tMakeItEasy campaign, emphasising the importance of crime prevention. As always, following some simple steps to bolster your security can deter opportunistic criminals from seizing or damaging your property.
What Makes an Easy Target?
When trying to burglar-proof your property it is important to consider how a burglar would think about it. Or soft or easy target for potential thieves could include:
- An easy method of entry and exit
- Good Escape Routes
- Obvious clues as to whether the property is occupied or not
- Hidden front door keys or spare keys in obvious places
- Unlocked doors or windows
- Empty packaging or gift boxes piled up in front of the property
Active Steps You Can Take
- Keep all windows and doors locked when the house is empty. The #Don’tMakeItEasy campaign states that 1 in 4 burglaries in South Yorkshire happen as a result of doors and windows being unlocked.
- Test burglar alarms and always set it when you leave the house.
- Ensure that windows and doors are secured. Install solid core doors, heavy duty locks and longer screws in lock strike plates/door hinges. Install secondary security devices on all accessible sliding doors.
- Don’t openly display your Christmas Tree and presents in your front window or anywhere near the front of your house. This is a very tempting and accessible target for thieves to simply break through a window to gain access to.
- Don’t hide spare keys in obvious places, for example underneath plant pots or rocks in your front garden. These are the first things a potential burglar will look for.
- Use timers on lights to give the impression that your home is currently occupied when you are out. You could also ask a neighbour to clear your front porch of newspapers, advertising leaflets and other debris that could be sending a clear message that your home is empty.
- In the run up to and immediately following Christmas, dispose of boxes and packaging carefully and discreetly. You could cut up or break down boxes to a smaller size in order to better conceal them.
- Don’t leave a description message on your answering machine informing callers that you have left for the holiday season. Likewise, don’t post anything on social media that would indicate that you will be elsewhere this Christmas.
- Consider marking valuable property with an invisible UV market pen. This could make it easier to identify as your property in the event that it is stolen.
It can be tempting to sit back, relax and take it easy over the festive period. Whilst it is certainly important to enjoy your time with family and friends, staying alert and taking precautions can ward off potential thieves, or at the very least make their job a much more difficult one.