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Don’t let burglars ruin your Christmas

Six simple steps to keep safe

Ask any police officer of experience and they will tell you that domestic burglaries go up in winter as the long cold nights make excellent cover for thieves. This is backed up by official numbers of burglaries in the winter months, according to the Office of National Statistics’ Seasonality of Property Crime report of November 2013.

It should be obvious, however, that Christmas provides an even more tempting target for burglars with expensive presents packed into every home and all conveniently in one easy to find place. And no-one wants to make that heart-breaking phone call to your insurers to claim on your Home Contents insurance for lost presents. Father-Christmas-amended

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There is some good news. Another Office of National Statistics (ONS) report, the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), reveals that in recent years the trend for domestic burglaries has gone down and the reason for this is a general improvement in home security. The relationship between security and risk of burglary is complex, the report says. Households with none of the security measures such as window and door locks had around twice the burglary victimisation rate (5%) of those with at least ‘basic security’ (2%). Most burglaries are opportunistic and so, in general, the incidences of burglary decrease as security measures become more sophisticated.

However, says the report: “There continues to be some variation in the uptake of such security measures, with generally those households at greatest risk of being a victim of burglary having the lowest levels of uptake, for example student households and households in rented accommodation.” At http://www.crime-statistics.co.uk/postcode you can search here for particular crime trends in your area which are published on a monthly basis. This may help you to decide how much security you need to maximise the denial factor for potential burglars.

Again, a will give you more information but in the meantime a few simple steps can help to protect your home, save your family from desperation and keep those carefully chosen gifts where they belong – in the hands of your loved ones.

• If you can, invest in a burglar alarm. The siren box alone can be a strong deterrent against would-be thieves.

• Always make sure your doors and windows are strong and secure, and fitted with good quality mortice locks.

• French windows with only a single locking point should also be fitted with top and bottom mortice locks or they are very easy to open with a simple pull.

• Make sure spare door keys are not left under the mat or in plant pots, and don’t leave window keys in the locks.    

• Do not leave valuable items – like those cherished presents – in view of windows which may face the street or anywhere someone unwelcome might see them.

• Lights are an excellent deterrent. Try to invest in motion sensitive lights or place exterior lights in areas around your home which may provide hidden access for an intruder.

By Steve McDowell

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