Stay safe during the spooky season

As we brace ourselves for what’s set to be a long winter and as the nights get darker for longer, thoughts are turning to dark and cosy evenings and a time for families and communities to come together to celebrate seasonal festivities. Sadly, this also signifies our houses becoming more vulnerable to burglars.

Burglaries increase by up to 26% between Halloween and Bonfire night as burglars hide under the cover of darkness and empty houses become easier to spot. Bonfire night is statistically the worst day of the year for domestic burglary and Halloween is the one rare day of the year when we literally open our doors to dozens of strangers.

In the midst of the frights, giggles and entertainment, it’s easy to get carried away. It’s worth taking a little time out to check your home security and take a few precautions to help keep you property and possessions safe.

Here are some security guidelines to help you minimise risks, keep children safe, and ensure the spooky season stays scary for all the right reasons.

1. Keep windows and doors locked: This sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget when you have excited children keen to get out and enjoy the fun.

2. Lock your sheds and garages: With many people roaming the streets during Halloween, ensure your sheds and garages are securely locked, making sure all garden tools and locked inside.

3. Don’t leave valuables on view: Valuables left lying around that can be viewed from the window will invite a burglar to break in. Keep valuables locked away and out of sight.

4. Don’t advertise your whereabouts: Posting your plans for the Bonfire night or Halloween on social media may inadvertently advertise your empty home to opportunists. If you must post on social media, check your privacy settings to ensure that only family and friends can see your posts.

5. Make your property look occupied: If you are nipping out for a couple of hours, it’s a good idea to leave some house lights on to make your home look occupied. Burglars are opportunists and are looking for an empty home with poor security.

6. Set your alarm: If you have a home alarm, make sure you remember to set it before leaving the house.

7. Check your security lights: Check that any security lights that are installed are working correctly.

8. Check who’s at the door: Make sure you know who you’re answering to before opening your front door. A door viewer or a security chain can be a simple yet effective way of finding out who’s at the other side of the door.

9. No to late night callers: Set a deadline for opening your door to trick or treaters. Typically, young children will come calling no later than 8pm.

10. No trick or treat: If Halloween is not for you and you prefer to be left in piece, display a ‘no trick or treat’ sign on you door. These are easily available from your local police constabulary.

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