AA Ireland is encouraging people to be careful when leaving their car or home unattended during the Christmas season, as opportunistic thieves could be looking to capitalise on security lapses.
"Many of us will be out shopping over the Christmas period, and our cars will be left unoccupied. It's so important to protect your gifts while you're shopping and when they're stored in the car," says AA Ireland's spokesperson Anna Cullen.
“Of course it may not always be possible to avoid leaving your car unoccupied, but there are still things you can do to reduce your risk. If it's possible, then park in a secure car park and get into the habit of physically checking the car has locked before you walk away from it,” adds Cullen.
When it comes to home security, a recent survey of 2,617 AA customers found that 40% of people fitted an alarm to their property to help reduce their risk of burglary.
20% purchased or rescued a dog to act as a deterrent to potential intruders, 19% installed new exterior door locks and 16% joined a community text alert system.
Among the steps recommended by the AA Home Insurance team to protect your home are the use of a burglar alarm, checking all external locks before leaving your home, and leaving a light on when your home in unattended to give the appearance that someone is home.
"Unfortunately each year our home insurance team comes across cases of homes being broken into and gifts being stolen. People want to enjoy Christmas, but keeping your home safe is vital," states Cullen.
"Make sure it is tough for a burglar to enter your home - ensure all potential entry points are locked and secure. Hide presents carefully, don't store them in obvious places like wardrobes where burglars are bound to look," she adds.
To help keep your home safe this year, AA Ireland recommends thinking of the Christmas ANGEL when leaving your home unoccupied over the Christmas period.
A – Make sure your ALARM is functioning and turn it on before you leave.
N – Tell a NEIGHBOUR, if you’re leaving for a long period, so they can keep an eye on your home.
G – GLASS; check that all your windows are closed and locked before you leave.
E – EXITS; make sure all your external doors are locked.
L – Leave some LIGHTS on so that it looks like someone is home.
Click here for more information on AA Home Insurance.