While the holiday season is one where most of us unwind and stop working, for burglars it is the busiest time of year! With gifts under the tree and doors open to guests, there are many temptations and opportunities for theft that are not usually present. The Australian Bureau of Statistics last Crime Victimisation Survey found 245,500 households were the victims of at least one break-in to their home, garage or shed and an additional 203,700 households were the victim of attempted break in’s. Of these reported incidences, 48 percent involved property damage.
To avoid your holidays being ruined by the Grinch that stole Christmas (and your Xbox or jewellery) Lynn & Brown Lawyers have compiled a list of top tips to secure your home this season:
- KEEP THEM OUT! LOCK UP.While this may seem like common sense, it is remarkable how complacent people become over the holiday season. The warm weather encourages us to capture the Fremantle Doctor through open windows and sliding doors.In an ABC interview, Dr Natalie Gately from the ECU School of Law and Justice confirmed that most burglaries are opportunistic. In her survey of 69 self-confessed thieves it was found that one of the most common strategies involved simply walking through open doors and windows. To avoid this, it is important to lock doors and windows or have security mesh installed so that you can enjoy the breeze without leaving your property vulnerable.The same principle applies when you are home. If you have having a Christmas party out the back, or have invited lots of people who can bring their friends, thieves can often enter undetected. In some cases they have been known to mingle with other guests so they can scope out the full contents of the home. Minimise risk by inviting guests through a doorway that is easily visible to you. For example, if the party is in the backyard, lock the front door and encourage people the use the side gate which is in clear view of the rest of the partygoers.
- DON’T DISPLAY VALUABLES.One of the largest debates in a household can be where to display the Christmas tree and decorations. During the holiday season decorations and trees are often placed close to windows in full display of the street. While this may spread Christmas cheer, it also makes your home an easy target as thieves can see straight into your home and scope out the presents. If you are convinced that the Christmas tree by the window is the only option, be sure to hide presents and only place them under the tree at the last minute. Big ticket items like bikes or electronics should also be stored in locked sheds or spare rooms to avoid their theft.As a precaution, all display boxes should be broken down and placed securely in recycling bins. Having large boxes poking out of your bins gives people a good idea of bounty held within!
- BE SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY.“Can’t wait for my weekend away in Bali” #Robme #EmptyhouseIn an English study of 50 former burglars, it became apparent that social media posts are one of the easiest ways for thieves to be tipped off as to whether you are home or not. The best way to prevent this is to refrain from posting “going away” photos. If you are social media obsessed and like to make others envious of your fabulous holiday, make sure you upgrade your privacy settings so that strangers cannot track your movements.
- UPGRADE YOUR DEFENCES.Has someone been hassling you for a puppy this Christmas? Well it turns out that in Dr Gately’s study, dogs (big and small) act as an excellent deterrent of burglars as they are likely to draw attention to their activities. Surprisingly, high walls and fences are not a deterrent, in fact, thieves prefer them as it gives them somewhere to hide!To avoid break-in’s trim back overgrowth that covers doors and entry points. While this may sound like you are encouraging thieves, the clear view from the street deters potential criminals as there is a greater chance someone may see them break-in. This is particularly the case when they intend on using hidden keys or open windows to get in as these activities look very suspicious when in street view.Don’t deny the power of the neighbourhood snoops! Having people regularly park in your drive way, collect your mail or mow your lawn provides a level of activity that prevents burglars from scoping out the home or making an entry. The lack of routine to these visits also puts thieves off as they cannot be confident that no one will come home.
Home security, video surveillance and sensor lights can also prevent a break-in and assist in catching anyone who tries and succeeds.
Lynn & Brown Lawyers hopes you have found these tips helpful in securing your possessions over the holiday season. Here at Lynn & Brown we have a dedicated team who can assist with your criminal law matter. If you have been affected by property damage, theft or burglary please alert your local authorities before engaging one of our experienced solicitors to assist. On behalf of the whole team we wish you a safe and pleasant holiday season.
About the author:
Haley Graydon is a law clerk at Lynn & Brown. Haley is currently in her final year of study at UWA. The areas of law that Haley has a keen interest in is family law and estates.