Burglars reveal what they look for when targeting a home at Christmas

Reformed burglars reveal 5 things they look for when targeting a home at Christmas

  • Anthony Neary spoke to former offenders to reveal the five signs they look for
  • Read more: Do you live in a burglary hotspot? 500 homes burgled every day

Ex-burglars have revealed the signs they look out for when targeting a home around the festive period. 

Anthony Neary, managing director of security retailer Safe.co.uk, has spoken to former offenders to reveal the five signs they look for.

While Anthony provided advice on how to protect your home, especially if you are travelling over the holidays. 

Christmas is a perfect time for burglars thanks to the long dark nights, number of deliveries, and the amount of presents in homes. 

Many properties are also left empty over the period with people visiting family or enjoying festivities and Police forces across the country are issuing warnings to the public. 

Anthony Neary, managing director of security retailer Safe.co.uk, has spoken to former burglars to reveal the five signs they look for (stock image) 

Social media posts

One ex-burglar explained: ‘I used Facebook to see when people would be away, you won’t believe how many post on social media about visiting family for a few days.’

Anthony states that social media can be detrimental for anyone who is away.

He said: ‘When on holiday or visiting family at Christmas, don’t advertise that your house is unoccupied. 

‘Wait until you have returned home to post pictures with your loved ones, or a burglar will have ample time to plan their theft. 

‘This includes geotagging stories, as a thief can work out how far away you are from home.’

Unlocked doors

Most burglars are opportunists who will try doors, hoping one has been left open. 

One states: ‘Lock your doors. Seems simple, but lots of people don’t, especially when busy or stressed around Christmas.’

Anthony adds: ‘Ensure that all windows and exterior doors are shut and locked at night or when you are away. 

‘Fitting mortice locks to doors and gates can also improve security as they are more difficult to tamper with. If your door has a letterbox, be mindful of where you keep your keys, as cunning thieves have methods to take keys from the inside of the door, granting them full access to your home.’

Helpful items left outside

Some burglars report using wheely bins to help them gain access to a home and one warns.

He said: ‘Don’t leave anything around for a burglar to climb on or move that helps them enter your house.’

Anthony recommends keeping your bins inside your property, so they can’t be used. 

He said: ‘Burglars can use wheelie bins to scale fences or walls, allowing them access to your back garden, which can not only lead them to gain access to your back door, but allow them to steal property from sheds and garden boxes which people may not think to secure. 

‘Thieves can also use your tools to help them break into your house. We suggest keeping your bins behind a locked gate and using weatherproof padlocks to secure outdoor storage.’

Empty packaging

Many will be getting rid of their product packaging over the coming weeks and a former burglar describes how this encourages them: ‘Leaving empty boxes from high end electronics outside your house allows any burglar casing your estate to see that you have a lot of valuable items ready to be taken.’

Anthony comments: ‘The disposal of Christmas packaging is an advert for what new tech and appliances you have. 

‘Even boxes from less expensive items left outside or in your bin can be used to their advantage and a burglar will likely take their chance to lift tens of gifts and be gone in seconds. We recommend keeping gifts out of sight and either breaking down empty boxes or taking them straight to the recycling centre.’

Exterior Lights

One ex-burglar stated that what commonly puts them off is exterior lights.

He said: ‘Having lights that illuminate the drive and garden, not just the house, gets rid of blind spots where people can hide.’

Anthony says: ‘A house in the dark could appeal to a burglar as it looks vacant, especially with Christmas lights up right now. 

‘This makes it obvious that the owner is asleep or not at home. To deter or startle burglars, security lights are an essential purchase for long nights and will alert you to any activity. 

‘It is also always a good idea to have added security in place such as CCTV and burglar alarms especially if staying away from home over the festive period.’

Detective Inspector John O’Driscoll of Cheshire Police said: ‘Burglaries are an upsetting crime to deal with at any time of the year, but even more so at Christmas… 

‘We would urge you to stay vigilant and utilise advice and guidance on protecting your home from thieves.’

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