Sadly, crims love Christmas too, making the silly season the time to get serious about home security.
Chances are the big guy in red may not be the only one thinking about making a late night visit to your home this Christmas.
As a prime time for thieves, the festive season calls for additional home security measures, and the good news is that keeping your home safe from intruders needn’t cost a sleigh-load of cash.
Figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) show home break-ins are one of the most widespread crimes in Australia with around 335,700 burglaries recorded annually. The holiday season is a favourite on thieves’ calendars as our homes are likely to be stocked with fresh treasures – often on display and easily accessible right under the Christmas tree.
Windows – the weak spot of security
Installing a home security system can be an effective way to deter thieves especially if the unit is visible from the street. However installing window locks can be a cheaper alternative. Government statistics show that windows are often the weak spot of home security, accounting for 39% of entry points in home robberies.
Bling is popular among thieves too
According to the AIC, money is the most commonly stolen item (19%) followed by jewellery (18%). If bling is on your Christmas wish list it could be worth installing a home safe. As one ex-con noted in a government report, “Your average thief isn’t carrying safe-cutting tools with him. Most blokes see a safe, throw their hands up and go next door”. Priced from around $100, a digital safe may be a worthwhile investment (though perhaps not so good for your neighbour!).
Even the best security measures can be ineffective if you don’t follow some basic precautions. Leaving house keys under doormats or in pot plants is like putting the welcome mat out for thieves. A better idea is to always take keys with you.
Don’t make it obvious you’re away
If you’re heading off on vacation, leave a few lights on or install sensor lights around entranceways. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to collect your mail while you’re away.
Update home contents cover
Finally, if you are expecting Santa to deliver a generous stash of goodies this Christmas, be sure to upgrade your home contents insurance to reflect the value of any big ticket items.
For additional tips on home security, take a look at the Crime Prevention Authority’s booklet – Lock Burglars Out! It can be downloaded from www.ag.gov.au