Whether you are going away for the festive season or are concerned about the rapid 20% rise in burglaries in the run-up to Christmas, ensuring your home is safe and you have the correct security in place is paramount.
It is an important concern at any time of year, but while your mind is on other things (catering for guests/buying presents/getting the food in), it can be easy to forget about something as serious and important as security.
How To Keep Your Home Safe At Christmas
Thankfully, along with some basic advice, the rise in smart home technology can not only keep your mind at ease but also make the safeguarding your home much easier and hassle-free. To make sure Santa Claus is the only stranger wandering into your home over the Christmas period, take a look at our top tips to keep everything safe and increasing your security:
Keep Everything Under Wraps
It isn’t just the presents under the tree which need to be discreet.
It seems obvious, but if you have a Christmas tree with a load of gifts stuffed underneath and this is visible from outside through a window, any opportunists could make the most of this easy access and rich pickings.
Whether you keep everything hidden before Christmas Eve or keep any valuables in a safe, don’t make it easy.
You also need to think about after the big unwrapping. Don’t load the bins up with tonnes of paper and the discarded boxes of new phones, games consoles and jewellery. You’re basically advertising the contents of your home to outsiders.
Install A Smart Doorbell
Whether you are going away or are just concerned about the few hours you spend at the shops, a smart doorbell could help you ensure that nobody is on your property who shouldn’t be. Most come with motion sensor technology, so if anyone walks past or happens to be in your front garden, you’ll get a notification.
This allows you to act, whether you set off an alarm to deter suspicious activity or speak to them and ask what it is they are after. They could also be handy if you’re expecting a delivery but need to nip out, as you could communicate with the postman or delivery driver to leave it in a safe place or with a neighbour. Here are our picks.
And A Smart Camera (Or Two)
Cameras can cover a broader area than the doorbells, which is great if you live in a larger property or would like some covering the back garden too.
Most offer a live view option through a smart device, so if you’re visiting family, then the ability to check on things even if you haven’t received a notification will be welcome.
Some also have sound capability so you can hear what’s going on and talk to anybody, and others have motion lights too.
Indoor cameras are also widely available – why not direct one towards your tree to make sure it is all okay?
Remotely Control Your Lights
Making sure your home looks lived in is vital, especially on the dark nights in Winter. If there are no lights on at 8 pm, it could be pretty telling that nobody is in.
Being able to control your lights remotely is a great idea. Either set up a timer and schedule, so they come on at 5 pm every evening, or if you’re out you can turn them on and off as you wish from an app thanks to a smart plug or dedicated smart bulbs and lighting.
Pairing this ability with a smart doorbell or camera could mean that if they sense that someone is on the property, lights can turn on automatically to make it look like you’re coming to the door or have seen them.
This isn’t just handy for any indoor lights; if you have some decorations outside, turning them on with the help of a smart plug is a key signal that someone is at home, even if you aren’t.
Make The Most Of Security Sensors
Whether they are motion sensors dotted around your home or window and door sensors, these can tell you if someone is in your home when it is meant to be empty, or if an entry route is opened, but nobody is in.
Say you’re at the work Christmas party and you get a notification that your back window has been opened. You can check if someone just needs a bit of fresh air, or if something is suspicious.
Don’t Run Wires Through Windows And Doors
Outdoor lights really add to the festive spirit and decor of your home, but those wires have to be plugged in somewhere. Of course, if they go inside through a window or door, even if they seem closed they’re still not flush.
It creates a weak spot in them, and thieves could prise them open easier. When you’re out or away, remove all cables.
Secure Outside Buildings
You may think nobody is going to want your lawnmower from the shed when you have five tablets, four smartphones, three laptops, two games consoles and a big TV in your home.
However, if you keep your shed or garage unlocked or unsecured it is an easy invite for people to take absolutely anything. Plus, they may be encouraged to try the home and look out for a weak spot in your security. Don’t let them.
Power tools are actually a big target for thieves as they’re quickly sold on, so while you may think they’ll prefer your iPhone to your toolbox, they may prefer the hassle-free route and make the most of your lack of outdoor security.
Stay Off Social
Last but not least, not to be humbugs, but actually advertising that you’re away is a recipe for disaster. Whether it be an Instagram picture, Facebook status or check-in, or a Tweet, don’t let the world know that you’re staying with a relative over Christmas, visiting the Christmas Markets for the evening or jetted out of the country. You don’t know who has seen it, or who was waiting for the right moment.
If you must update everyone on your life, save it all for when you get back in the form of a good old throwback.
Should you be tempted to get your house kitted out with the best smart security in time for the festive period, take a look at our top picks of the best cameras, smart doorbells, lighting and plugs which can get you on the path to a safer home.