How NOT to get burgled this Christmas – a reformed criminal reveals his tricks

No one wants to be robbed of a happy Christmas

As any Cliff Richard fan knows, Christmas time should be about mistletoe and wine. But sadly, it’s sometimes a case of mistletoe and CRIME, with close to 700,000 domestic burglaries reported in 2017, according to government statistics. And shockingly, it takes a burglar just a MINUTE to decide whether to commit a break in, based on spotting an average of 11 security flaws.

Related: The one simple act that puts you at greater risk of being burgled

When your house is packed with presents it’s easy to feel like a target. However, Anglian Home Improvements has been working with a reformed criminal called Richard Taylor, who has come up with some top tips on how not to get burgled this Christmas.

Kitted out with an eye tracker, Richard was able to record 32 potential security issues in there minutes. These have been used to compile a list of dos and don’ts that will help keep your home safe.

1. DO hide presents

How-not-to-get-burgled-this-Christmas

Image credit: Katie Lee

It’s not just the kids that will be trying to guess what’s in those parcels under the tree. Your living room window becomes a shop front to criminals at Christmas time, who will be tempted in by potential high-ticket items like games consoles and smartphones. It’s best that you tell Santa to wait until early on Christmas morn to leave any presents under the tree – even if they’re smellies for granny and a bottle of something for grandad.

2. DON’T run electrical cables through windows

Who doesn’t love a front garden illuminated with festive lights? But be warned, running their cords through a teensy gap through the windows is a big security risk. Burglars will see an opportunity to break in without needing to force an entry. Avoid making yourself an easy target by asking an electrician to install an outdoor plug instead.

3. DO keep your letterbox clear

How-not-to-get-burgled-this-Christmas-2

Image credit: Polly Eltes

A door with letters peeping out is a green flag to criminals that you’re not at home. As is a note to any couriers to ‘leave the parcel around the back’. You could invest in a Ring doorbell to help you manage deliveries – you’ll get an alert on your phone when the post arrives.

Love Ideal Home? Subscribe and enjoy 43 per cent off – plus an extra 10 per cent off with code XMAS10

4. DON’T be careless on social media

As we’ve warned before, burglars are getting increasingly smart and can use social media to target potential empty homes. If you’re planning to go away for the festive season – even for just one night – be wary of what you post. Set your social media accounts to private, so that no one but close friends and family know what you’re posting, or leave your sharing for when you get back. And never accept friend requests from strangers.

5. DO hide packaging

How-not-to-get-burgled-this-Christmas-3

Image credit: Dan Duchars

A bin full of wrapping paper and Amazon boxes is a dead giveaway that your home is full of festive bounty. Bury any boxes deep down or – better still – drive them to your local recycling centre right away.

6. DO make your home look lived in

Now’s the chance to make the most of your Hive or Nest smart home system. Start by getting all your lights on a timer so it looks like people are coming and going. You could also hook your radio up to a smart plug and tune it in to TalkSport, Radio 4 or any other station that broadcasts chat. No smart system? Ask a neighbour to pop in and draw the curtains, and light your rooms appropriately for the time of day.

Raise the alarm: Best smart home security systems for protecting your property

‘The Christmas season is always a busy period,’ says Costas Kariolis, Head of Digital Marketing at Anglian Home Improvements. ‘But it’s important not to forget about necessary security measures for your home. It was great to work with Richard on the video, as he has pointed out security flaws that many of us would not have noticed. We hope that our festive tips inspire people to think about the other ways in which we can keep our homes secure.’

Ideal Home newsletter

All the latest from Ideal Home