Leaving your Home Alone this Christmas?

With one in five Brits planning to spend Christmas away from home, read our top tips for keeping your home secure and burglars at bay, this holiday season.

Christmas TreePolice are warning about Christmas burglaries following a 20% increase in festive offences last year[1], and in a recent survey of 2000 Britons conducted by Lightwave, we have discovered that a staggering 5,600,000 houses could be left unattended[2] and at potential risk of burglary.

The same survey found that almost two thirds (64%) of Brits plan to mimic occupancy by leaving lights on and closing curtains in order to deter thefts. However, a staggering 83% admitted they had previously left doors and windows unlocked in their rush to leave the house over the festive period, while 23% have accidentally left them wide open. This prompted a third (30%) of Brits to send a neighbour, friend or relative to check if they'd locked up properly.

But it’s not just external intruders threatening the safety of homes left alone this Christmas. People are also putting their homes in danger by leaving hazardous appliances switched on while they’re away. With people’s minds preoccupied with last-minute rush to leave the home, we found 38% of people admit to having forgotten to switch off hazardous appliances such as the hob or iron or turn off the tap, as they rush out of the door.

Christmas Tree

Hair straighteners proved to be the worst offender, with 27% of people saying hair straighteners have been left switched on in their house. Hair straightener temperatures can exceed that of a deep fat-fryer, this can pose a serious fire risk if straighteners do not have an ‘automatic switch-off’ function built in.                               

We are most likely to forget to switch off:

  • Hair Straighteners (27%)
  • Oven (11%)
  • Tap (10%)
  • Iron (6%)
  • Hob (4%)

A few top security tips for houses that are home alone this Christmas:

  • Lights and sound - mimic occupancy by automating lights and setting blinds to open and close at typical times of the day in order to deter thefts. You can also use smart sockets to control other devices, like radios, to make the sure the house isn’t completely silent whilst you’re away enjoying the festivities.
  • Lock your windows and doors – Burglars will try all entry points to get into the house, so it’s important to make sure that all windows are doors are both shut and locked when leaving the house unoccupied
  • Presents out of sight – As traditional as it is to leave big presents under the tree, only do so if the curtains are closed and they will be out of sight to reduce temptation!
  • If you’re always dashing out the door, running late to visit friends or family or if you’ve ever left the Christmas tree lights on, smart sockets will also enable you to monitor things and switch off remotely.

Methodology

Research carried out by OnePoll among 2,000 UK adults (7th – 13th August 2018)

 

[1] Daily Mail - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5217901/Christmas-burglaries-thefts-robberies-surge.html

[2]ONS - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/bulletins/familiesandhouseholds/2017