Without realising it, many of us could be doing things that make our homes more vulnerable to residential burglaries.
Home burglaries are a largely opportunistic crime with thieves choosing the easiest targets that will reap the biggest reward. There are a few factors that thieves look out for when picking a house to break into.
Unlocked Door or Windows
Although many of us picture thieves picking locks or breaking windows to get into homes, the statistics show us that in almost a third of residential burglaries the thief uses an unlocked door. One of the first things a thief will look at when picking a house to break into will be whether the doors or windows are unlocked.
By locking these entries, you can easily take away a potential opportunity for a thief to enter your house.
Interviews with ex-thieves consistently tell us that having a dog is a significant deterrent for breaking into a house. Many thieves won’t take the opportunity to break into a house if they think they will be confronted by a noisy dog.
If you don’t have a dog, having a visible “Beware of the Dog” sticker can be enough to make a thief walk right past your place.
Although this seems like a relatively small clue, many thieves look at the mailbox to see whether someone is home. Some crafty thieves can also put flyers in a mailbox to see if the owners are away on holiday.
Make sure you are cleaning your mailbox regularly and ask a trusted neighbour or friend to grab your mail if you’re planning on heading off on holiday.
Overgrown Bushes or Hedges
Like a full mailbox, unruly bushes or untrimmed lawns can tell thieves that your home is vacant. Having overgrown hedges can also give thieves a cover when breaking into your home.
One of the biggest deterrents to a potential thief is a car in the driveway. Having a car in the driveway is one of the most visible signs that someone is home and it a good way to ward off opportunistic thieves.
Residential burglaries are more likely to happen during a weekday when the thief thinks no one is home. As well as locking up, make it look like someone is at home and the opportunistic – lazy – thief will move on.
These are only a few of the suggestions contained in the “How Safe Is My Place” free online quiz.
The quiz takes around 10 minutes to do and it will provide you a report of the simple things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
How Safe Is My Place is an initiative of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria supported by RACV.