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We all deserve a break over the festive period but for small business owners it is still a time to remain vigilant. Especially when it comes to the safety of your premises if they are going to be vacant for a period.

The Christmas season can see an increase in burglaries by opportunistic thieves given the fact that properties are more likely to be empty, as well as increased risk from the weather such as freezing temperatures. With this in mind we’ve put together 6 top tips for helping to keep your small business safe over the Christmas period.

• Make sure all access points to your property are secured. Doors and windows should all be closed and securely locked. Also make sure any gates or other points of entry are shut and locked

• If you have CCTV on your property, then do leave it active as it can act as a deterrent as well as providing evidence if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a break in

• Activate any electronic alarm systems that your premises may have

• If you can, put your lights on an automatic timer – this can make it look as if the property is occupied or at least being checked on a regular basis

• You could also consider letting your neighbours (if your business premises have any) know that your property will be empty and asking them to keep an eye out for any unusual activity

• If the forecast is suggesting temperatures are going to drop below zero leave your heating on at a low level to prevent your pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes which burst can cause a significant amount of damage to your property and possessions, especially if left undiscovered for a number of days

Before you leave your property empty it’s a good idea to double check your insurance policy and make sure that you have sufficient cover in place. If you are having an extended break, then do look at the period of time you are able to leave your property vacant whilst ensuring your insurance remains valid. If you have also increased your stock levels in the run up to Christmas again it is worth checking that you haven’t exceeded any of your policy limits.

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