How to protect your home from break-ins as burglaries spike this festive season

Burglar outside home

Ex-burglars explained what they look for before targeting a home

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 29/12/2023

- 08:01

Burglaries spiked by nearly eight per cent over the Christmas period last year, according to experts

Burglaries can be more common over Christmas and New Year, with darker days and the promise of presents in homes.

Ex-burglars have shared what makes them more likely to target a home, and what Britons should be mindful of.

Only 15 per cent of properties that are targeted in the UK have advanced security systems.

Managing director of security retailer Anthony Neary shared advice on how to protect the home based on what the burglars said.

This comes as the UK areas most at risk of breaks-ins were shared.


Homes can be more at risk over Christmas and New Year


Social media

One burglar explained they use social media to see when people are away over the festive break, so it's wise not to post about holidays.

Anthony explained: "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.”

Lock your doors

Britons may be busy preparing to celebrate the new year, but they must remember to lock doors when leaving the house.

A burglar revealed many thieves are opportunists who will simply try doors to find one that has been left unlocked.

Anthony continued: "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.”

Remove 'helpful' items

Some burglars said they look for items like wheelie bins to help them gain access.

The expert added: “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

"You may have boxes lying outside from Christmas but this could draw attention to the fancy gadgets that are inside," Anthony added.

Christmas presents

Experts suggested leaving Christmas packaging out of sight


"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

A well-lit garden is likely to put burglars off, they explained.

Anthony continued: “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.”

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