With all the excitement and stress of the Christmas period, one of the things that often takes a back seat is home security.

The increased crime over the Christmas period is largely due to the number of people on holidays and the presence of new, often expensive, items around the home.

Here are some tips to help keep your Christmas happy and incident-free.

1. Christmas tree checklist

  • Artificial trees should be flame resistant
  • Choose fresh tree to avoid fire hazard from the dry ones
  • Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
  • Use flame-resistant decorations
  • Keep the tree away from windows, as a pile of presents on the tree can attract thieves.

2. Electrical safety

According to Fire & Rescue NSW, electrical appliances and faults cause more than 40% of Australia’s house fires each year. With extra lights and decorations plugged in, make sure you’re taking all precautions. Use good quality power boards with surge protection, turn lights off at night or when you go out, and ensure all Christmas lights have an ‘Australia Approval’ number on them for safety.

3. Outdoor power sources

Use an outdoor power source for your lights if possible to avoid attracting unwanted visitors through unclosed windows. Any lights you use outdoors must be labelled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.

4. Put ladders away

After you’ve set your lights up, make sure you pack your ladders and any other tools away. If burglars do come into your yard, they shouldn’t have easy access to your home.

5. Keeping valuables safe when travelling during the holiday season

Naturally, you want to take precautions all year round such as installing sensor lights, alarm systems and keeping everything locked. However, during the holiday season, it pays to take some extra steps to protect your home and valuables.

If you keep irreplaceable items in the home such as heirlooms and jewellery, it’s worth locking them away in a safe. The same goes for cash and other valuables.

6. Make it look like someone is home

Creating the illusion of someone being home is always useful. Try these simple tips to make people think you’re home, even when you’re not.

  • Ask someone to collect mail each day
  • Hang some clothes on the washing line
  • Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally
  • Ensure garbage bins aren’t left on the street

7. Other Christmas holiday precautions

These extra tips can help keep your home safe from burglars during the holiday season.

  • Don’t post on social media about the expensive gifts you’ve received or your holiday plans
  • Divert home phone calls to your mobile, in case of thieves call to check if you’re home
  • Remove all spare keys from around the home
  • Check all doors and windows are locked before you leave

Christmas is a great time of year, and it should be enjoyed by everyone. Following these tips should help you stay safe, protect your home and make the most of your time with family and friends.