A new study has shown that just like everyone else, burglars like to hang up their sacks and stripy T-shirts on Christmas Day and sit around their purloined tree opening other people's presents instead. The number of home insurance claims for thefts falls 59% on the 25 December. However, the study also warns homeowners not to be complacent, because there are a number of days during the break when thefts spike - including today.
Churchill Home Insurance tracked burglaries during the Christmas period. They discovered that the 19th and 20th December are peak days for burglaries in December, because thieves know we will have bought our presents and laid them around the tree for easy access.
On those days we're also likely to be out celebrating, ice skating, watching festive films and buying last-minute gifts, so the house will be unattended for hours. Claims on these two days are therefore 12% higher than the rest of December.
Aside from the next couple of days, the next major spike will be New Year's Eve. With so many people out and about celebrating the start of 2015, the brand new presents will be sitting at home just waiting for burglars.
The insurer said that during the Christmas holidays we're all tempted to relax a bit and let our guard down. However, we still need to take basic security steps to protect our homes and our new Christmas presents.
There are standard security measures that should be part of your home security all year round. All accessible windows should have heavy metal locks fitted - and should be used at all times. Outside doors, meanwhile, should have deadlocks or key-operated security bolts. And ideally you should have a good quality alarm fitted too.
Your garden is key. Trim garden hedges so that doors and windows can be seen and no-one can hide. Make sure the area around your home is well lit, and consider installing a security light. And while it can be tempting to leave a key somewhere hidden outside the property in case of emergency, this is a terrible idea, because burglars know all the hiding places, and they will easily be able to track your key down.
When you go out - or if you are away for a few days - there are a few extra steps to take. At the very least use a timer to turn lights on and off when you are out, and consider asking a trusted friend or neighbour to check on the property and remove any mail that has piled up – especially if you have a glass door.
Crime on AOL Money
Remorseful thief returns stolen charity cash
Chelsea imposter 'scammed £1,000s from firms'
Professor Brian Cox's wife sends burglar packing with right hook