After shivering through a cold and wet winter, South Australians are expected to make the most of the upcoming October long weekend to venture further afield and enjoy the Spring weather. But with more than 8,600 SA homes having already falling victim to thieves in the past year, Crime Stoppers SA has partnered with the Police Credit Union to encourage people to undertake basic security precautions around the home as part of their getaway planning.
Crime Stoppers SA Chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said a review of serious criminal trespass incidents found that most break-ins happen on Fridays, with thieves most commonly smashing through a back door to gain entry, with jewellery, car keys and tools most commonly stolen.
“A few basic security precautions around the home as part of your holiday getaway preparations can go a long way towards keeping thieves at bay and your property protected,” Ms Hanlon said.
“Unlocked windows and doors continue to be the biggest security weakness for many burgled Australian homes, so people should take time to double-check that all are locked, and make sure that sheds, garage doors, and side gates are also locked too,” she said.
Crime Stoppers SA recommends the following tips for home owners:
Invest in a home security system
When it comes to choosing a home security system, it can be as simple or as complex as you want. Options range from an intruder alarm that covers entry points like windows and doors, through to a security alarm system with motion sensors that covers a home and garage. The tech-savvy might even want to opt for a closed-circuit camera to film any unwelcome guests that can be accessed via a smartphone app that sends an alert when an intruder is detected.
And if you already have a security system, check to make sure it is working properly, and remember to turn it on.
Hide spare keys
It’s not uncommon for people to leave spare house keys under a pot plant or door mat, despite being the most likely hiding places. Play it safe and give a spare set of keys to someone you trust instead. If you plan to leave any vehicles at home while you’re away, it is always a good idea to hide the keys to prevent thieves making off with your car or motorcycle too.
Install an outdoor sensor light
Movement activated outdoor sensor lights are a great way to illuminate a would-be burglar lurking in the shadows. Make sure to test it before you head off.
Roller shutters or security screens
Roller shutters and security screens are a great way to prevent access and keep the contents of your home hidden from potential thieves.
Suspend the newspaper
Consider asking a trusted neighbour to collect any mail while you’re away, and suspend any newspaper delivery to avoid any pile-ups in your front yard over the weekend because it shows that you’re not likely to be home.
Have light timers
A dark house is a sure-fire giveaway that you’re not at home, so install some light timers to turn your lights on and off to give your place that lived-in look.
Opt for a house- or pet-sitter
If your four-legged friend is going to be left behind, have a friend or family member house-sit while you’re away to secure your home against theft, feed your pet, collect the mail, pick up newspapers, and put out the bins.
Put away any outdoor equipment
Outdoor items are also an attractive prize for a thief, so put away valuable outdoor equipment and furniture, solar panel lights, sports gear and toys, and bicycles. Lock away ladders or bins so they cannot be used to enter your home from a higher position, and don’t leave tools or garden implements laying around because they can provide an opportunistic thief with a way to enter your home.
Make a record
It is a good idea to prepare for the worst, so make an inventory of your property, and take photographs of any engravings, marks and any other relevant details. It will make your stolen property harder to sell and easier to trace, and will help with any insurance claim you might have to make. Consider marking items with your name and/or your driver’s licence number, and remember to record details of a manufacturer, model name or number, and any serial number of your most prized possessions.
Don’t forget that the MyWheels app – powered by Crime Stoppers – is free to download and the perfect solution to capturing all your vehicles’ data, accessories, insurance details, and even photos!