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12 days of Christmas tips

This image shows a man wearing a black hat and a black hoody part covering his face, reaching to untie the bow on a large orange Christmas present

We want everyone to enjoy a happy festive season.

Sadly, whilst we are all making our Christmas plans, so too are burglars, who know this can be a rewarding time of year for them.

No-one wants the misery and trauma of having their home broken into or treasured items stolen, so starting today (Monday 12 December) we’ll be sharing our own ’12 days of Christmas tips’ burglary prevention advice

Please keep security at the front of your mind in the weeks ahead – and do please keep checking in to see daily tips added and our 12 days unfold.

This image is a graphic which shows a neighbour holding a dog, looking out of the window on a snowy landscape. She had a Christmas tree behind her. The text reads: Tip 1 burglary prevention tips On the first day of Christmas tips, my local bobby said to me "12 neighbours watching"

We can all look out for each other’s property this Christmas. Even better, be part of your local Neighbourhood Watch (and if you don’t have one, set one up).

Find out more: Neighbourhood Watch Scheme | Avon and Somerset Police

This image shows a key in a lock, attached to a keyring with a house ornament on it. In the background are the lights and tinsel of a Christmas tree

Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves, often during the day and at the rear of the property, out of view.

So, ensure you close and lock all windows and doors and remove the keys to a safe place out of sight.

More here: Ensure your property is secure | Avon and Somerset Police

This image shows a blue bicycle with a Christmas tree on the bike and a basket of wrapped presents on the front. leaning against a white wall. It is covered in Christmas lights.

Burglars love bikes, especially expensive ones. Find out how to protect yours at: Keeping your bike secure | Avon and Somerset Police.

You can also register your bike on The National Cycle Database | BikeRegister.

This image shows a mobile phone displaying a call to 999,

If you see someone acting suspiciously or suspect a crime is in progress, call 999 immediately.

If you have information to share, call 101 or report online: Report | Avon and Somerset Police.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

We can all play our part in keeping criminals at bay.

This image shows a house window where the curtains haven't be drawn. Inside a Christmas tree and the contents or the room can be clearly seen.

Keep curtains, drapes and blinds closed at night when lights are on and make sure valuables are always kept out of sight.

This image shows a close couple securing a shed door.

Help make it harder for burglars to access your garden or shed, by keeping all doors and gates locked and bolted.

A close-coupled lock (as shown) is more secure than a traditional padlock.

You can find police-approved products on the Sold Secure website. Ideally, we recommend using products graded silver or above.

This image shows a car next to a bin on the drive.  In and around the bin are clearly marked boxes e.g. Games Console, Kid's Bike, Smart TV.

Don’t advertise your exciting new gifts to burglars.

Take packaging to be recycled or, if you have to put it out for collection, only do so just before the collection is due.  Fold the cardboard over so the content isn’t obvious.

Ideally, keep high value jewellery and treasured items secure via a safe deposit box company and large amounts of cash in a bank, building society or post office account, not at home.

If you do use a safe, make sure it’s a good quality, insurance-company-approved one that’s professionally fitted and mounted to a solid wall and floor.

Burglar alarms can act as deterrents to potential thieves; unalarmed properties offer less risk for those looking to break-in. If an alarm goes off, few burglars will want to stay around.
Security cameras can also discourage opportunistic thefts. Any security measure is better than none.

If you’re away over Christmas, ask trusted friends or neighbours to park their car on your drive, take your rubbish bins in and out in a timely fashion, and push any post through the letterbox.

Don’t advertise your absence on social media or answerphone messages and remember to cancel any scheduled deliveries.

When going out for the evening, leave a light on or make use of inexpensive timers to make it look like someone’s at home. A dark, obviously empty house will be a draw for burglars.

This year, over 500 individuals have been arrest for burglary. But we know sadly, there are more out there. We’ll be patrolling over Christmas and New Year to keep our communities safe and free from individuals intent on causing harm and misery. You can help us by putting in place these simple tips for crime prevention.

Thank you for reading our 12 Days of Christmas crime prevention advice around burglaries. We hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas. If you plan on going away after Christmas, or if you’ll be storing your new gifts somewhere, these top tips can help to deter burglars and keep your property and belongings safe this time of year.