Ways of beating the burglars at Christmas time
There are steps you can take to make your home safer, says Vicky Shaw
As the evenings get darker, burglars can use shady hiding places as an opportunity to break in to homes - and with Christmas coming they could be on the prowl for some unsuspecting homeowners' presents.
Insurance providers have seen a spike in insurance claims during winter months.
Last year, there was a 35% increase in Halifax Home Insurance claims for forced burglary between the 'darker' months of October to December, versus the 'lighter' months of March to May.
Tim Downes, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance, says: "Following some of our simple tips is an easy way for homeowners to protect their properties during the darker days."
Here are the insurer's tips for to keep your property safe in the darker months...
1. Make sure bushes, hedges and trees aren't creating easy hiding places for burglars.
2. Leave a light on in your home when you are out, or have a light timer fitted.
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3. Think about installing exterior security lights at the front and back of your property.
4. Leave the radio or the television on to give the impression that the house is occupied.
5. If possible, invest in a CCTV system. You can now also buy cameras that allow you to monitor your home remotely via your smart phone or tablet.
6. Consider investing in a burglar alarm. Not only do they keep your home safe, but also act as a deterrent to burglars, and could reduce your home insurance premium.
7. Having a gravel driveway can be a good deterrent to burglars as the sound will alert home owners to an intruder.
8. With upcoming Christmas parties and religious festivals, households might have more expensive items in the home than normal. Make sure you have the right level of insurance cover for these possessions.