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Lock up before you leave

Posted on 27/09/2018

South Australians planning to venture out for this long weekend have been warned to take some basic precautions around the home before heading off.

The campaign, presented by Crime Stoppers SA in partnership with the Police Credit Union provides handy security tips for people to consider to avoid falling victim to opportunistic thieves.

Crime Stoppers SA Chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said most break-ins tend to occur on a Friday, with a back door the most common way to gain entry.

Most common items stolen are jewellery, car keys and tools.

“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,” Ms Hanlon 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.


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