Home and Property
October 2, 2023
Crime Prevention
6 ways thieves can tell when you’ve gone away

6 ways thieves can tell when you’ve gone away

If you’re going away on holiday, it’s important not to let potential thieves know your home is empty.

If you’re heading off on a much-needed holiday, be careful you don’t advertise to a clever thief that you’re away. 

Here are the key signs thieves look for which signal you’re away and some simple steps you can take to outsmart them.

1. You've told everyone on social media you're going away.

We understand. Everyone gets excited about going on holidays. But don’t feel you have to let everyone know where you are and what you’re doing all the time. That innocent insta story, Tik Tok video or Facebook post, might just let a thief know that you’re away from home. And if you haven’t tightened up your security settings, or aren’t super careful about what you post where, often it won’t take much for them to find out where you live.


You never know who’s seeing your social updates. So, make sure you strengthen the security settings on your posts and limit the info you share. If you really want to share your holiday adventures with your family and friends, wait until you’re safely back home.

2. Your house is totally dark when it shouldn't be.

A home with no lights on in the evening, is like a bat signal telling people your house is empty. And if there’s not even any light coming from a TV or computer screen, it’s a pretty sure bet for a thief that you’re not home.


Most people have a nightly routine so try to find a way to continue that to some degree when you’re away. Use timers on lights and TVs so that they turn on when it gets darker and off around bedtime. Install motion sensor lights outside above the front entry, driveway and garage and invest in some solar lights in your yard that come on when it gets dark.

2. Your mailbox is overflowing.

This one’s a no-brainer. If your mailbox is overflowing with junk mail or unopened letters and bills, or there are newspapers piling up on your front lawn, it’s a sure sign you’re away.


Arrange with Australia Post to have your mail held at the post office or redirected to someone you trust, and put a “no junk mail” sign on your mailbox, even just for the days you’re away. Or ask a trusted neighbour to empty your mailbox for you every day.

4. You're not keeping to your normal schedule.

Some thieves will canvass a neighbourhood for a few days and watch the comings and goings to learn residents’ routines. They’ll then use this info to determine when to target your home. So, if you’re house has less activity than usual – or no activity at all – they’ll realise you’re not there.


Try to arrange someone to house-sit for you or ask a trusted neighbour or family member to keep an eye on your place. See if they’ll help make it seem like someone is home by occasionally parking in your driveway, turning on a radio or TV, opening and closing blinds, mowing your lawn and putting your bin out on garbage day. Also try mixing up your routine every now and then to keep people guessing.

5. Your car isn't where it's usually parked.

If you always park your car where it can be seen by passers-by, such as in a carport, driveway or on the street, and then it’s suddenly not there for several days, it’s a good indicator that you’re away.


If you have a garage, get into the habit of parking your car in it and keeping it locked. If you don’t have a garage, asking a trusted neighbour to occasionally park in your driveway or in front of your house while you’re away, may thwart of potential thief.

6. Your household is too quiet.

Whether it’s a lawnmower, a TV, a radio, excited kids, noisy pets, video games, music, power tools or visitors, there’s usually some sort of noise coming from most households at certain times of the day. So, if your house suddenly falls silent for a few days or weeks, or someone rings your doorbell and there’s no answer, it may let a thief know you’re not home.


If you have smart appliances, or they have timer functions, set radios or TVs to turn on and off at varying times of the day. Radios set to talk stations are particularly good. Investing in a motion sensor smart camera, or a video doorbell, that sends notifications to your smartphone, can also help fool a thief that you’re at home. Some allow you to view the video in real time and even have a conversation with whoever’s at your door, even if you’re hundreds of kilometres away.

Before you head off

  • Be sure to incorporate home security into your holiday preparation. Before you head off:
  • Download our free Home Security Holiday Checklist to make sure you have covered all avenues.
  • Register your absence from residence with Victoria Police. Once you submit this form, your local police station will be notified and they may be able to increase patrols in your area while you’re away or notify your emergency contact if something happens. Be sure to let them know if you return early.
  • Ask a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to keep an eye on your place while you’re away and do regular checks. 

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

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