Former burglars share their top tips for keeping your home safe this Christmas
Our homes are filled with some of our most prized possessions and even more so as the festive season rolls around and we stash gifts for loved ones in cupboards and under the tree.
So it's only natural we'd want to keep our house and the valuables inside safe from thieves.
But according to former burglars, there are some big safety mistakes we've been making.
These mistakes were revealed in a thread on Reddit, which asked those with a criminal past to share the number one place people should never hide their valuables.
More than 13,000 people commented on the post, here's a look at what some of them had to say.
One person said: "LED lighting is cheap these days.
"If your house is gonna be vacant for a while, consider investing in one of those smart-lighting home automation systems where you can set different rooms to turn on and off at different points in the day. (Kitchen during dinnertime, bedrooms at night, etc.)
"My neighbour did that and it fooled me. I rang his doorbell to ask to borrow a pressure washer wand, with no response. Figured he was with family and wasn't taking any more visitors, but turns out he's been on vacation for the past four days."
Someone else wrote: "Don't leave things out that people can see from outside your home or car.
"If you buy a new TV or computer, break down the box it came in, don't just leave it by your garbage bin."
A third advised against small lock boxes.
They commented: "It's great when you find one because they're simple to open and if they don't have a wall safe then all of their main valuables and money are usually in it. Jackpot!"
And don't underestimate the importance of keeping your shed locked, as a different user pointed out: "Even if your house is locked, if your shed isn't, I likely have access to a plethora of tools I can use to gain access. Don't help the burglar. Lock your shed."
Another person reminded people not to store their spare keys near the front door, as it's so obvious.
"Don't keep spare key near front door, under plant pot, under door mat or top of door frame, etc."
A sixth explained how their cousin had a sneaky plan to confuse burglars.
They said: "My cousin lives in a bad neighbourhood, so she went to a thrift store, bought an obnoxious looking jewellery box and a bunch of expensive looking costume jewellery that's actually worthless and put it in the box.
"She keeps this in a conspicuous place. Then she leaves a few 20s on top, this way if someone actually breaks in, they will grab this and run, ignoring some of her well hidden valuables."
And finally someone claiming to work for the police recommended figuring out how you would break in to your own house, as it will show you where you're vulnerable to thieves.
They posted: "When I was a student I was really bad at locking myself out of the house and would regularly need to break in.
"I've climbed the back fence to access a back door I suspected was left unlocked, used a piece of card to flick open the locks on sash windows, managed to wriggle down an old coal chute into the cellar, etc.
"Each time I'd fix the problem but next time I was faced with the need to get inside I'd find another way in. It's a very helpful exercise to test your security."
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