7 million homes vulnerable to theft this Xmas

19 Dec, 2016

Nearly 7 million  homes could be at risk of burglary this Christmas, as one in four people plan to spend the festivities outside of the home, according to new research from Policy Expert.

Of the 5,619 people surveyed, 21% will be celebrating Christmas at a friend or family members’ home, with a further 4% stating they will be at a restaurant, or holidaying abroad or elsewhere in the UK, meaning millions of homes will be left empty and unattended on Christmas Day.

Furthermore, over half of people put presents under Christmas Trees before Christmas Eve, potentially leaving hundreds of pounds worth of items on display for over a week. 31% put their presents out in the third week of December, 12% in the second week and 6% in the first week. 31 people even admitted they get into the festive spirit as early as November and put presents out then.

Despite this, Policy Expert research has also revealed that many homes do not have adequate security measures in place to protect their homes while they’re empty. Only two in five (40%) of those surveyed have timed lights and just a third (35%) have a burglar alarm fitted, while 5% admitted they had no security in place at all.

Adam Powell, Head of Operations, Policy Expert commented: “Christmas can be a tempting time for opportunistic burglars, who know Brits’ generosity means homes will be filled with even more valuables than usual, so it’s unsurprising we see thefts rise over this time. Longer winter nights and shorter days mean that there are more opportunities for crime to take place under the cover of darkness, so it’s important to remain vigilant and ensure your home is adequately protected.

Any way to make your home look occupied or any visible deterrents, such as lights on timers, CCTV and burglar alarms should go some way in preventing a break in. It’s likely the value of contents in your home will increase over the festive period, so it’s important to remember to check any valuables or big ticket items are covered in your home insurance policy. Policy Expert offers an additional 10% contents cover during December as standard, preventing a nightmare before or after Christmas.”


Tips on protecting your home:

  • Install a timer to set lights inside your home to come on once it gets dark – choose a light in a visible room at the front of the house, not the hallway, as this will create the impression that someone is inside
  • Invest in sensor-activated, external lighting for the garden and around the front of the home
  • Install a burglar alarm – not only is this a visible deterrent, if someone does attempt to break in the alarm would alert neighbours and the police before any damage could be done
  • Don’t leave curtains closed – during the day this makes it look like there’s no-one at home
  • Make sure any outbuildings or sheds are locked and that any tools are hidden away – these could be used to break into your home
  • Ensure any valuables are out of sight – remove the temptation and make sure these items cannot be seen from outside the house through the windows
  • Never leave a spare key anywhere near the front door, for example under a doormat, flower pot – thieves know all the usual hiding places
  • Similarly, don’t store house/car keys just inside your front door, as burglars could try to fish for the keys through the letterbox