Top 12 tips to keep your home secure this Christmas

It’s the time of year when we shop the most, fi lling our homes with the latest gadgets, designer goods, expensive wines and spirits and jewellery for our loves ones and there’s a higher chance of us being out and about visiting friends and family. It’s the perfect time for burglars to break in. While

the numbers of reported burglaries

were at their lowest last year, 650,000 incidents of domestic burglary still occurred. So you don’t get caught out this Christmas, follow these helpful tips from NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes. Keep presents and gift packaging away from view Make sure to leave your presents out of sight, away from a window. Remembering rubbish collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at diff erent times, so ensure you only put your bins out just before the collection and break apart boxes so that they don’t act as an advertisement of your new presents to burglars! Burglars use social media to gain information Studies have shown that burglars use social media to seek out potential targets. Although you may not be intentionally inviting burglars to your home, publishing enough information on your whereabouts and your new presents and not having the correct privacy tools in place could put you as a target. So, be wary of what you post and regularly check your safety settings. Improve the security potential of your doors It is important to have robust locks on both the front and back doors. Ensure entrance doors to your home are fi tted with secure locks or a multi-point locking system with at least 1000 diff ers (the number of possible keys for a given lock). You will already have this if you live in a newly built property. Do you have sliding back doors? These should be secured by way of a multi- point locking system and have an anti-lift device fi tted so that doors cannot be lifted from their frame from the outside. Check your window locking systems Ground fl oor windows and any others that are easily reached by climbing are recommended to be fi tted with lockable


which cannot be released without a key. If you own a home built in the last ten years, they should already be there. 18 - Friday 22nd December 2017 - Cardiff & South Wales Advertiser


in your local area? Be secure, but also safe

If your doors can be locked from the inside using a key, make sure you keep a key in a convenient place nearby, so that you can get out quickly in an emergency. View outside

Ensure that you have a wide angle view of the area immediately outside the main entrance door to check on callers. Newer properties may already have a through-door viewer or clear glazing either to part of the door or a convenient window which provides a view of the main entrance.

Consider a light sensor…

Crime can be prevented by external detection security lighting that switches on after dark when someone is nearby, illuminating the general area.

It’s highly eff ective in deterring

potential intruders and therefore defi nitely worth considering if your home doesn’t already have one installed.

…and alarm systems

A house alarm systems acts in two ways – to deter intruders, and detect the opening of a window or a door. Some systems can also be linked up to a mobile phone number, letting the owner know the alarm has been triggered. Lock rear entry gates

Make sure your back garden is as private and secure as possible. Many burglaries start at the back, where no-one can see them taking place. Keep ladders and other equipment safe Do not leave ladders, steps etc. visible in the garden, as they attract the keen eye of the burglar and makes things easy for them, so always ensure that they are kept out of sight, ideally in a locked shed or garage.

If you’re away - try to make your home look occupied!

Leave the lights on in the evening or when you go out to your Christmas parties (but not just hall or landing lights) or use an automatic time switch or smartphone-controlled device. But, if you’re away for a length of time, arrange for a neighbour to generally keep an eye on your home while you are away.

Neil Smith, NHBC Head of Standards, Innovation and Research, said: “There are a number of simple steps people can take to ensure they don’t fall victim to this disturbing crime. From burglar alarms to security lights, these measures can improve security and off er residents peace of mind in helping to make sure their homes and belongings are well protected.”

Christmas Horoscope By Quinn

ARIES (March 21st to April 19th) This could be your lucky Christmas. You wanted something special and it should materialise. Don’t forget to show you’re grateful though. Keep your head during the preparations. Things are bound to go wrong but, it can all be remedied - if you remain calm. Family matters could cause you grief, again, but don’t be drawn into quarrels that are not of your making. Be a neutral bystander and you won’t get the blame.

TAURUS (April 20th to May 20th) Christmas is the time when everyone should be friends - even those who are not particularly fond of one another. If you want to enjoy a season of peace and goodwill, make the fi rst move, it’ll pay you in the long run. You may be tempted to spend, spend, spend this year. Well, unless you have won the lottery, don’t! You will need all your fi nancial resources in the not too distant future, so plan your spending and never exceed your budget.

GEMINI (May 21st to June 21st) For a sign denoted by twins it’s amazing how solitary you can feel sometimes. You won’t feel that way this Christmas. You should be inundated with company of all sorts. You won’t have a moment to yourself and you’ll be hard put to keep up with all you have to do. At least, it should be that way. If however, you insist on prolonging an argument, you could end up alone again. The answer is clear if you want the best Christmas ever!

CANCER (June 22nd to July 22nd) You really must try to keep your temper, especially over the festive season. You are far too inclined to ‘let rip’ over the slightest thing. Your answer is to relax more. Try stress management, it’s easy enough. If you need help, join a class. You may fi nd it hard to please someone special this year and be tempted to overdo the expenditure. Don’t. You cannot buy friendship or aff ection, and if that’s what’s expected, turn your back on the situation and the person concerned.

LEO (July 23rd to August 22nd) Your naturally aff ectionate nature could lay you open to abuse, so be aware and cultivate that underlying suspicious nature you usually so successfully hide. Sometimes it’s necessary not to see the best in everyone. Your nearest and dearest should come up trumps on the gift scene - you lucky you! Make sure you don’t forget to reciprocate, you know what’s wanted. Be careful if you go out over the Christmas holiday or the run-up to it, be sure of your home/car security.

VIRGO (August 23rd to September 22nd)

This should be one of your best Christmases ever and you could be in demand on all sides. The temptation to accept every invitation and go to every function will be very strong, but you must be selective. If you overdo things you’ll just spoil the big day when it arrives - you’ll be too tired to enjoy it all. This year too, you should consider getting in touch with a friend you have avoided over recent years all because of a silly argument.

LIBRA (September 23rd to October 23rd) You do have a tendency to become a touch maudlin over Christmas, dwelling on festivities in the past. This is a pointless exercise. Unless you concentrate on the here and now, you won’t ever enjoy it to the full - and there is certainly a great deal of potential enjoyment on off er. Get on out there and shop till you drop, spend like never before, eat, drink and be merry, you have every reason to do so and no reason at all to be miserable.

SCORPIO (October 24th to November 22nd) This Christmas will be a fi rst in many ways, so enjoy. You have had some pretty traumatic times recently but things should have begun to settle by now. Of course you cannot expect a completely stress-free life, it’s not in your stars, and you would get easily bored if it were otherwise. There is someone you may be neglecting however and you shouldn’t allow this to go on. Most of the problem is your fault anyway, and it’s about time you admitted it.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23rd to December 21st) Try to relax over this Christmas. You must also make sure you get your own way over the arrangements or you will be railroaded into doing things you would rather avoid. Of course you must give and take a bit, but someone close to you is intent on making you do all the giving. Make a point of organising a few events that include your friends and your choice of venues. Above all make sure you enjoy it all to the full.

CAPRICORN (December 22nd to January 20th) Now you know how to enjoy yourself, there’s no doubt about that. However there are limits and you should take care not to over-indulge this Christmas or you will reap some very uncomfortable results, and you won’t even be able to enjoy the New Year celebrations! A close friend may seem a bit touchy, don’t goad them with your usual chit-chat. Your sense of humour is not everyone’s cup of tea. Before you let yourself go, on the festivities, make sure you get your accounts sorted out.

AQUARIUS (January 21st to February 19th) Christmas is a time for celebration, but before you start with the jollifi cations, make sure you get the more mundane aspects of your life properly organised. It would be best not to have any unfi nished business as the New Year approaches. You just never know what lies ahead. The indications are there will be a great deal to attend to, most of it unexpected, though potentially very profi table. Pay great attention to your Christmas gift list, it’s possible you have left out someone important.

PISCES (February 20th to March 20th) As the festivities approach, your expectations of the New Year increase. You have ambitions which may or may not materialise. This is not the moment to think about them however. This is the time of year for planning an enjoyable and memorable festive season, so put all other thoughts to the back of your mind and concentrate on Christmas, shopping, partying, meeting friends, giving and receiving, and decorating. The New Year is time enough for ambitions - which are looking good by the way!

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