Burglary rates in Australia are on the rise. Just because it hasn’t happened to you – it doesn’t mean you, your home and belongings are safe. Each year there are over 200,000 burglaries recorded in Australia, with 20 per cent of these houses being broken into more than once. Despite homeowners taking more measures to avoid being targeted, it’s estimated that one out of every 40 houses in Australia will still be broken into this year.
Understanding the mind of a thief and where their points of entry typically are is a good start to protecting your home. Thieves will almost always knock before attempting to break in – and if you do answer, will make up an excuse like they’ve lost the dog or ask if your gutters need to be cleaned. Be wary of these people scoping out your property and take the right steps to prevent your home being at high risk of burglary. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Install security screens.
Thieves are notorious for entering properties from the window, back doors and garage. As a homeowner it’s very easy to leave a window open or ajar – especially in those warmer months without thinking too much about it. Open windows and doors, even just in the slightest, are an invitation for thieves to target your home. It’s a simple solution to keep windows, doors and the garage locked but it’s amazing how many homeowners forget or don’t bother.
If you do prefer keeping doors and windows opened, it’s best to install security screens to prevent unwanted access into your home. With the right security mesh thieves aren’t likely to break a window or be able to get in. Installing security screen doors will also mean you can comfortably leave the door open for fresh air – with the security screen locked properly, unwanted guests won’t be able to enter your home. A survey of police detainees conducted in Western Australia by DUMA (Drug Use Monitoring in Australia) said that 19 per cent of offenders were more likely to be deterred from breaking into a property if security screens were installed on windows and doors.
2. Obtain a home security check.
Local police departments usually offer an under utilised but extremely valuable public service – home security checks. It’s these guys that deal with break ins daily, so they are well trained in understanding the mind of a burglar and key areas of the home they target.
A quick phone call to the boys in blue can lead you in the right direction to securing your home as best as possible. They will come out to your home, walk around the inside and outside of your property and suggest areas that could be improved upon. Some offices may include a small charge for this service but if you’re unsure about the security of your home it can be a huge help. And it’s an essential part of a well-adopted security plan to guarantee you haven’t missed any key areas.
3. Motion activated lighting.
According to DUMA, lights turned on inside your home can deter over 19.3 per cent of thieves. Beating those stats are a functioning alarm system (49.1 per cent) and having a dog (61.4 per cent) – it doesn’t have to be a big dog, just the bark is often enough to send anyone running for the hills. Intruders’ target homes that don’t look lived in and lighting can play a huge part into tricking them into thinking otherwise.
Using motion activated lighting can take this concept a step further. Shadowed parts of your home should be illuminated to prevent thieves from hiding out and access points – like your driveway, front and back porch and garage can be made more secure with motion activated lights. Floodlights are ideal for these points because once they turn on, they illuminate a wide viewing area. This will scare any intruders off trying to target your home and keep you and your family safe if you’re entering the home at night. By nature of burglary, lights are counterintuitive and should always be a vital aspect of maintaining a safe property.
4. Invest in secure fencing.
Investing in quality driveway gates and fencing can act as the first, most secure line of defence in protecting your home. Thieves are much less likely to target a home that has security fencing and gates – just ensure the gates are properly locked. If you’re installing driveway gates and fencing around your property to keep intruders out, keep it at a practical height and consider the locking mechanisms you use. Automated driveway gates are the best for top-notch home security but make sure only allocated people have access to the pin number or key card to get in.
Secure fencing and driveway gates must be durable enough to withstand potential threats. When thieves are prowling the streets to determine what property could be their next target, homes with high-quality fencing are less likely to be considered. Once an entrance is too difficult for an intruder, they will give up and move onto an easier target. Difficulty getting in also means it'll be difficult to get out carrying valuables.
5. Don’t leave valuables in plain view.
It doesn’t matter how good your security measures are, if you’re leaving valuables in plain view thieves will almost always target your home. Expensive cars should be locked away from prying eyes where possible and valuables should be kept away from windows where thieves can look in and be tempted to break in.
Intruders that are planning on targeting your home will look for signs that you're home and for things they like, that they can potentially steal. If you have valuables in view, like an entertainment system or flat screen TV keep blinds and curtains pulled shut during the day whilst you’re not home.
6. Know where thieves look for valuables.
Hiding smaller valuables, like jewellery and cash in obvious places is a recipe for disaster. Thieves will look in your sock drawer and bedside table first because these are the primary spots for keeping valuables. If you have a safe, it’s best to store all valuable items in there – but make sure it’s bolted down as intruders will almost certainly take it with them if it’s not.
According to these burglar secrets, thieves rarely go into children’s rooms to look for valuables. This can be an ideal space to store valuables, hidden in the back of their cupboard or to keep your safe to safeguard those valuables even more. If you're going to hide valuables in other parts of the house, stay away from the obvious places!
This article was written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Fencemakers - Perth, Western Australia’s complete range of quality security fencing and gates installed by skilled fencing contractors. Catch Jayde on Google+.
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