We want to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Christmas period.
Here are some crime prevention tips to help you.
Do you have presents under your Christmas tree? Can they be seen from a window?
Don’t give thieves an easy target.
· Keep windows and doors secure at all times.
A common mistake is feeding extension cables through partially open windows; criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, if you don't have an external plug outlet, opt for solar or battery-operated lights instead.
· Keep presents and valuables out of sight.
Don’t place presents under the tree if visible from windows or doors.
· Dispose of all boxes and packaging carefully, particularly from expensive presents, and do not leave it on show outside the house.
Bin collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times. If you can't take packaging to a recycling centre, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to fold boxes inside-out so that they don't advertise any new contents of your home to thieves.
· Security mark gifts and valuables with your postcode and house number
Use window stickers to highlight the fact that your possessions are security marked.
If you are visiting the shops this Christmas, be careful how you leave your car.
· Do not leave valuables or shopping on display in your car.
· Close windows, sunroof, lock doors & activate security alarms when leaving your car.
· Park in a busy, well-lit area or secure car park if possible
· Take valuables with you when you leave your car, eg: cash, credit cards, mobile phones, sat nav systems etc.
· Avoid going back to your car to leave your shopping part-way through your trip.
· If you have no choice, make sure valuables and shopping are locked in the boot; taking care no-one is watching you.
· Do not leave your bag unattended on your trolley whilst loading your car.
· Choosing where you shop: If you are making a purchase from a website or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first. Look online for reviews of the website or person you are buying from. If you are purchasing an item from an online marketplace, you can view the seller’s feedback history before going ahead with the purchase.
· Use websites with a https://www – The s indicates that the site is secure.
· Payment method: Use a payment method that offers buyer protection, such as a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers will help you get your money back if the item is faulty or damaged, or if it never arrives.
· Staying secure online: Use a strong, separate password for your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping. You should also enable two-factor authentication (2FA), where possible, which gives your online account additional protection by double checking that you really are the person you claim to be, when logging in. For further information about how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk.
· For thieves, social media can be used to scout potential targets. If you usually publish your whereabouts during the holiday season – including any plans to be away from home – do think twice before posting this year, as you could be giving a potential burglar knowledge of when your house is going to be empty. Uploaded photos of pricey Christmas gifts can also be a problem. It's always worth double-checking your privacy settings on social channels and, where possible, keeping your profile private.
· Be sure to cancel any deliveries. Arrange for a trusted neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is at home if taking the car.
· Use light timers to activate in an active room such as lounge, hall, or kitchen.
· Burglars know all of the best hiding places for spare keys, so don't put them under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead, give the spare key to family or a trusted neighbour. Many houses now have alarms; make sure yours is on and protecting your home when you are away or out for the evening, where possible.
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