With peak burglary season upon us, here are some top tips to help keep your home secure and protected.
There was a 7% reduction in the number of burglaries across Australia from 2016 to 2017 and the total number of burglaries in Australia in 2017 was the lowest in seven yearsi. Despite this, over 170,000 homes were broken into in 2017i.
Burglaries often take place during the dayii and the summer holiday season, between December and January, remains the most likely time for burglars to strikeiii,iv,v.
According to research from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the most commonly stolen items in burglaries are those that can be disposed of easilyvi. These include, (in order) cash, laptops, jewellery, cameras, mobile phones, wallets/handbags, ID documents (especially credit cards), TVs, computers or video game consoles, watches, credit cards, video/DVD players, power tools and stereo/audio equipmentviii.
Thankfully there are several things you can do to keep these items – and your home – safer, not only during summer but all year round. Here are our top tips:
- Secure your home whenever you leave
Burglars prefer operating in areas they know well and have operated in before. They also tend to choose areas based on factors like lack of street activityvii. When targeting a property, burglars look at how many valuables might be on display and if spare keys to the property are hidden carelessly or in obvious placesvii.
TIPS! Keep valuables and spare keys safely hidden to avoid unwanted attention from burglars. Walk around the perimeter of the house and ensure valuables are not visible from vantage points, check that doors and windows are securely locked, and keep easy targets like bikes or garden chairs inside.
- Invest indeterrents
Around 61.4% of burglars surveyed as part of the DUMA program said that a noisy dog would deter them from attempting a break-invii. But if you don‘t have a dog, don‘t fear.
TIPS! A functioning alarm system would deter one in two offenders (49.1%), while sensor lights would stop more than one in five (22.8%) burglars in their tracksvii.
- Maintain your home while on holidays
A home that appears vacant is more attractive to burglarsvii, but there are several things you can do to make your home appear lived in.
TIPS! First, make sure your garden is maintained: an unkempt yard is an obvious indication that a house may be empty. Secondly, hide your valuables – including packaging from Christmas gifts – so as not to advertise the items you have that are worth stealing. Thirdly, ask a neighbour, trusted friend or family member to keep an eye on your property while you‘re away and collect your mail and newspapers so they don’t pile up.
- Upgrade your home‘slighting
A dark house day in and day out can look vacant and encourage intruders.
TIPS! Motion-activated or timer lighting can make your house look more ‘lived-in‘, whether you‘re at home or not, vii and hopefully act as a deterrentv.
- Protect your home with insurance
Even with all these steps, it is difficult to predict whether a burglar will be deterred or not. Should your home be broken in to the last thing you want to worry about is whether your insurance is adequate.
TIPS! Home and contents insurance will normally cover you for home theft or attempted theft. However, make sure you follow these steps:
- Read the Product Disclosure Statement to know what you are covered for and what terms, conditions and limitations apply to your policy.
- Before you go away, check the conditions of your policy. If your home will be unoccupied for an extended period you may need to contact your insurer.
- After Christmas, be sure to review your home and contents insurance in case any new items need to be added to your policy or you need to increase your sum insured.
- Finally, keep your receipts and valuations in a safe place and be sure to take photographs of valuable items such as jewellery, watches and electronic devices which will help should you need to make a claim.
For more information about Aussie’s range of insurance products, visit aussie.com.au/insurance or speak with your Aussie Broker.
i Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, ‘Lowest number of burglaries since 2010’, 4510.0 – Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 28 June 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/DA3DED213BAE8114CA257178001B6949?Opendocument, viewed 21 August 2018.
ii Australian Institute of Criminology, ‘Residential burglary’, Effective crime prevention interventions for implementation by local government, https://aic.gov.au/publications/rpp/rpp120/residential-burglary, viewed 21 August 2018.
iii Hickey P, 2014, ‘Warning over summer crime wave in Perth suburbs’, PerthNow, https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/warning-over-summer-crime-wave-in-perth-suburbs-ng-37944cced73d3cef4670385d3edcfa71, viewed 28 August, 2018.
iv Arlington, K 2016, ‘Christmas Eve, New Year peak times for property offences, crime statistics show’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/christmas-eve-new-year-peak-times-for-property-offences-crime-statistics-show-20161215-gtbirf.html, viewed 28 August, 2018.
v ABC News 2015, ‘Holiday break-ins: January the worst month for home burglaries, police say’, 7 January, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-07/january-the-worst-month-for-home-burglaries-in-victoria/6003900, viewed 28 August, 2018.
vi Coghlan S, Gannoni A, Goldsmid S, Patterson E & Willis M. 2015, Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2013–14 report on drug use among police detainees, Monitoring reports No. 27. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/mr/mr27
vii ABC News 2015, ‘Holiday break-ins: January the worst month for home burglaries, police say’, 7 January, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-07/january-the-worst-month-for-home-burglaries-in-victoria/6003900, viewed 28 August, 2018.
viii Fitzgerald J and Poynton, S 2011, ‘The changing nature of objects stolen in household burglaries’, Crime and Justice Statistics, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Issue paper no. 62, May 2011, http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/BB/bb62.pdf, viewed 23 August, 2018.
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