Christmas is a time when many of us are off work, and we go and visit people over the festive season, but sadly this is the very time that criminals can take the opportunity to ransack your home, just at a time when they know it is laden with expensive gifts. So what can you do to ensure that you don’t fall prey to a Festive Nightmare? According to the CSO (Central Statistics Office), burglaries have increased by 33% compared to last year, and alarmingly 1 in 10 homes in Ireland have been burgled in the last ten years.
Pretend someone is in
Christmas is both a good time for burglars in one sense and bad in another. They know there are gifts and presents and often cash in the house, but they are also acutely aware that there are lots of people around, and generally, they don’t want the hassle of dealing with a person. So when you venture out, you need to give the impression that someone is still there. Put lights on timers and leave the radio on to make it look and sound as if someone is at home. A talk radio show is often best as the sounds of the discussions can sound like a conversation. However, it is not a good idea to leave Christmas tree lights or other lights on due to the fire risk.
Get help from your neighbours
If you are planning on going away for a few days, it is a good idea to let your neighbours know. They might take in your bins from the roadside (a giveaway that you aren’t there), and if they have two cars, you might ask them to park one in your driveway to give the impression that the house is currently occupied by someone there. If the weather is bad over the time you are away, this can also make a difference, as burglars often check to see if fallen leaves or fresh snow have been cleared or walked on; again something you can possibly enlist your neighbour’s help with. A bottle of wine for the neighbour upon your return is better than returning to a ransacked home. Post piling up is another giveaway sign that you aren’t home, as well as the recent trend of delivery drivers flinging your parcel anywhere and everywhere. A few of these piled up are like a welcome mat to a thief.
Be careful with your social media
If you are very fond of posting on social media, please be mindful of tagging yourself and your location, especially in things like Instagram Stories or “Live” posts. This might well attract the attention of a criminal in your area who is aware of your or your property.