While the festive season is an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, it is also unfortunately a popular time for burglaries.

Ensure you don’t become a target for thieves around Christmas with this handy guide from hosted security specialists UMIX:

Just how frequent are Christmas burglaries?

Before we delve into tips on how you can make your home more secure from thieves this Christmas, first let’s take a look at how much of a problem burglaries are over the festive season.

According to research from Halifax Home Insurance, there’s a 25 per cent increase in theft claims throughout the month of December; an average of almost 50 claims are made on a daily basis throughout the festive period.

The Co-operative Insurance’s research paints a similarly troubling picture. Its figures have revealed that there is a significant spike in home claims made once the clocks are turned back in October, with theft claims rising by 38 per cent in the five months following the end of daylight saving time.

Chris Joyce, the Crime Prevention Officer at West Yorkshire Police, stated: “We want this to be a very merry Christmas for members of the public, but I really want to remind people how important it is to keep their home secure…We’re urging residents to consider what the true cost of burglary would be to them and take some simple steps to reduce their chances of a burglar ruining their Christmas.”

How can I protect my home this Christmas?

Follow these measures in order to reduce your chances of being targeted by thieves while enjoying the festive season:

Deter thieves with external home improvements

Burglars are less likely to take the risk of targeting a home that has been enhanced with visual deterrents.

Therefore, install home CCTV systems around your property — ensure these cameras can be easily seen by people approaching your home but out of reach so that they can’t be tampered with — as well as external lights that automatically illuminate through the night.

Lock up

High-quality locks should be fitted to doors and windows throughout your home — this includes putting sturdy padlocks on any outdoor sheds that contain tools and equipment. Everything should then be locked every time you leave the property, as well as when you go to bed.

Of course, a lock won’t be useful if burglars can get a hold of the key that unlocks it. Therefore, never hide any keys under an outside door mat, in flower pots or above door ledges — the majority of burglars will check these — but instead give a spare key to a neighbour who you trust.

Out of sight, out of mind

Avoid putting huge presents under the Christmas tree until Christmas Day morning, as these are sure to catch the eye of burglars if they happen to look through your windows as they are passing your home. Hide these gifts — as well as valuable ones — inside locked cupboards or drawers until the big day arrives.

Packaging of expensive presents should not be simply popped near or on top of your bin either, as this is just advertising the stuff that has been added to your property over the festive period. Rip up all boxes and containers and bury them deep in your bin instead.

Get adequate cover

In the event that you are a victim of burglary, support will be on-hand if you checked that you have the correct home insurance in place ahead of the crime.

MoneySuperMarket’s Dan Plant advised: “Make sure your home contents cover is fully up-to-date and at a high enough level to cover all your belongings sufficiently. Also ensure you are compliant with everything your insurer outlines in the policy. If in doubt, call your provider for more detail.”

Bought someone a bicycle for Christmas? According to home insurance claims analysis, these are the most stolen items over the festive period so it’s recommended that you register the equipment with BikeRegister. It’s free to do and is a resource that police will use when searching for stolen and recovered bikes.