Australians are increasingly worried by the threat of home burglary and the subsequent emotional and financial impact of a break-in.
The majority of us take the opportunity to go away whenever we can, may it be Christmas, Easter, or if a public holiday falls inline with a weekend, we pack up and go.
I mean, who doesn’t love a well-deserved break?
Unfortunately, burglars see this as an opportunity, knowing someone may not be home, and in fact have been known to watch your property for a few days prior to your departure and check to see once you have left, trying to find the right time to… well… break in.
With a few straightforward steps gleaned from police experience around the country, however, you can help protect your home and belongings from thieves.
Social media –
THE BEST FREE TOOL FOR BURGLARS.
Yes, you’re excited about your trip, post photos after you get home.
All locked up –
Police suggest many opportunistic thieves take advantage of unlocked windows. Even if you are going out for a short time, lock-up your house and windows. Locksmiths can provide advice on the appropriate door and window locks, and key all the windows to a single key.
Don’t provide cover –
Cut back trees and bushes that obscure your front door, look into installing movement sensor lights and report broken street lights straight away. Police also suggest making sure your house number is visible for the fastest response if you need to call for help.
Upgrade your defences –
A solid core door with a deadlock, for example, is harder to force, grilles and shutters prevent burglars from breaking in through windows, and a peephole or lockable security screen can help keep burglars out.
Monitor all targets –
Garages and garden sheds are often targets for burglars who can then use your tools or ladders to gain access to the main house (police even report wheelie bins used to smash windows). An automatic light, for instance, fitted to the shed or garage can be a useful deterrent, along with keyed locks.
Security doesn’t take a holiday –
Ask friends to collect your mail and to stop junk mail from building up in your letterbox while you’re away from home. A neighbour parking in your driveway can also help signal the house is not unoccupied. Other measures could include internal lights or a radio set on timers and organising for someone to mow your lawn.
Store valuables in a safe –
Money and jewellery are most often stolen in break-ins. Installing a small safe in your home is a relatively low-cost way to protect those items.
Don’t advertise valuables –
Break up packaging for expensive new gear before tucking it into the bin or recycling. Speaking of valuables, police advise making an inventory of your belongings to have at hand in case of a break-in. Mark your property using an engraver or ultra-violet markers and take photos of precious, one-of-a-kind possessions.
Install an alarm or deter thieves with a dog –
Add another layer of defence to your home with an alarm system. A barking dog can also provide effective security for your home. Even installing a “Beware of the dog” sign can make thieves pause before targeting your home.
Make friends with your neighbours –
In tight-knit communities, people look out for each other. Neighbours can report suspicious activity at your home and help when you’re away – and you can return the favour.
Hopefully, these tips will give you some peace of mind whilst you’re away!