There is no doubt that the festive spirit is in the air! But with the darker nights and the added financial pressures of Christmas, crime rates rise, too. Statistics show that there is a rise in some crimes, including burglaries and theft from cars over the holidays. And if you are going away for a few days or longer over Christmas, it is important that you take measures to protect your home.
There are a few simple things that you can do to make your home look less enticing to burglars:
- Let your neighbours know that you are going away and ask them to keep an eye on your home.
- Put lights on a timer to make the house look occupied in the evenings.
- Ask a friend or neighbour to park their car in your driveway, if you have one.
- Lock sheds and garages.
- Close all windows.
- Don’t leave things such as wheelie bins, benches or ladders near windows.
- Keep valuables out of sight (i.e. don’t leave the house empty for any length of time with a laptop and cash visible through the window).
Light It Up
Christmas trees are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to fires around Christmas. If you are going away, make sure that your tree is well watered; the drier it is, the more likely it is to go up in flames. If you have set your lights on a timer, don’t include your Christmas tree lights as they can get pretty hot. If you must leave your lights on, invest in LED fairy lights, which don’t heat up when on.
Check all of your Christmas lights, including the cables, to make sure that they are in good condition; if any are the worse for wear, with frayed or damaged wires, play it safe and replace them. Before you leave the house for your winter holiday, make sure that every plug is switched off at the socket. Not only will this help to prevent fire, it will reduce your energy bills, too.
The Big Freeze
If freezing temperatures are predicted, it can be a good idea to switch off your water supply. Frozen pipes, when thawed, will leak – and you don’t want to come home to a flood. If your electric trips out, there is a chance that your freezer can defrost and refreeze again before you return home. One tip is to freeze a plastic tub of water and place a penny on top of the ice. If you return home and the penny has sunk to the bottom of the tub, you know that your freezer has defrosted at some point and that your food is unsafe.
Always try to park in a well-lit spot and lock all doors. Don’t leave valuables (purse, wallet, keys, phone or bag) inside the car unless they are very well concealed.
It is always handy to keep a list of numbers for a reliable plumber, locksmith, electrician and handyman so that, if you do have a Christmas emergency, you will be able to get it sorted as quickly as possible.