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Former burglar shares five things they look for when targeting homes at Christmas

Rhiannon Ingle

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Former burglar shares five things they look for when targeting homes at Christmas

Featured Image Credit: Siri Stafford / Getty Images / HMVart / Getty Images

Christmas is a for family gatherings, gift-giving, copious amounts of mulled wine and roast potatoes galore.

However, it is unfortunately also a very popular time for some people to get up to some criminal activity - which is certainly not very Christmassy at all.

So, many households will be unsurprisingly be eager to know exactly what they can do to protect themselves against being a victim of a robbery.

Former burglars have revealed the top five things they look out for when robbing homes over Christmas. Credit: Siri Stafford / Getty Images
Former burglars have revealed the top five things they look out for when robbing homes over Christmas. Credit: Siri Stafford / Getty Images
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Well, luckily for you, a group of former burglar have shared the five things they look for when it comes to targeting homes during the holiday period.

Anthony Neary, the managing director of security retailer Safe.co.uk, has got the down-low from former offenders to find out exactly what things they keep an eye out for when picking their victim.

Empty packaging

Up first on the list is empty packaging.

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We all probably rack up quite a lot of recycling and rubbish over the holidays but it seems we should be careful about living it outside, as one former burglar warned: "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 explained: "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."

The expert recommended families keep gifts 'out of sight' and either break down empty boxes or take them straight to the recycling centre.

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Be sure to not leave empty packaging outside your gaff. Credit: Tanja Ivanova / Getty Images
Be sure to not leave empty packaging outside your gaff. Credit: Tanja Ivanova / Getty Images

Helpful items left outside

Similar to the first point, some burglars noted that they're able to gain access into a home using things that have already been left around the property.

"Don't leave anything around for a burglar to climb on or move that helps them enter your house," the former offender noted.

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Anthony 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."

Posting on social media may put you at risk. Credit: 10'000 Hours / Getty Images
Posting on social media may put you at risk. Credit: 10'000 Hours / Getty Images

Social media posts

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Now, many people love to flaunt their holiday happenings across social media but it seems that doing so may put you at risk of getting robbed.

"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," revealed one ex-burglar.

The safety expert agreed: "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."

Exterior lights can turn off robbers from targeting your property. Credit: jgareri / Getty Images
Exterior lights can turn off robbers from targeting your property. Credit: jgareri / Getty Images

Exterior lights

Everyone loves a bit of Crimbo decorations but those flashy Christmas lights outside your house may be more than just a pretty sight.

According to one former offender, exterior lights put them off targeting a home, admitting: "Having lights that illuminate the drive and garden, not just the house, gets rid of blind spots where people can hide."

Anthony says that a house in the dark may look 'vacant' to someone casing your property.

"This makes it obvious that the owner is asleep or not at home," he continued. "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."

Credit: HMVart / Getty Images
Credit: HMVart / Getty Images

Unlocked doors

And last but by no means least on the rundown is probably the easiest thing to remedy.

According to one ex-burglar, many people who target homes are opportunists who simply go about trying to enter doors in the hopes that one happened to just be left open.

"Lock your doors," they advised. "Seems simple, but lots of people don't, especially when busy or stressed around Christmas."

Anthony added: "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."

Stay safe out there!

Topics: Life, Real Life, News, UK News, Money, Home, Crime

Rhiannon Ingle
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