People who commit break-ins are often opportunistic, meaning they will only commit a crime if they have the opportunity, like if you leave an door or window open or leave valuables in public view.
The best way to assess your home is to look at it through the eyes of a potential burglar. The following checklist is intended to help you find out what steps you can take to reduce the opportunity for a crime to occur in and around your home.
Starting from the roadway / footpath leading to your home
Is your house number clearly visible from the road?
Consider cutting back trees and bushes that block vision to your front door. Display your house number in a visible location to help emergency services if they need to attend your house.
Are there any potential hiding places in or around your property?
Remove or minimise potential hiding places by cutting back trees and bushes that could be used for cover. Choose smaller bushes and flowers instead or consider removing trees or bushes close to your windows to increase visibility.
Are your gates locked and is your shed, garage or tools secured with locks?
Consider locks to help deter unlawful entry.
Is there a clear boundary between your property and public areas (footpaths)?
Consider how small plantings, garden edging or fencing (that does not block visibility of your house) could make the boundary clearer. Clearly defining your boundary can help to deter people from trespassing either accidentally or intentionally on your property.
Check to see if you have any unsecured items in your yard/driveway.
Do you have anything that can be easily taken? For example, children’s toys or bikes left out, unlocked vehicles in driveways or unsecured tool-boxes in work vehicles. Ask your children to leave their bikes out of view and off the roadway. Make sure your vehicles are always locked and that tools and tool-boxes are secured.
Assess the outside of your home
Do you have outdoor lighting at the main entry or exits of your home?
Consider installing a form of sensor lighting at all entries (front and back), along pathways, and near the garage and other outdoor structures. This creates the illusion that someone is home and will help deter criminals from fear of being seen.
Do you have secure and lockable security doors and screens?
Check the quality of your door and window security regularly. Security doors and screens provide an added layer of security. Also make sure to educate who you are living with on the importance of locking your doors and windows. Remember 40% of burglars walk straight through the front door!
Do you have security cameras installed?
Consider installing either real or fake security cameras to deter burglars. If this is not an affordable solution for you, consider instead installing signage that states, “this property is being monitored” or “smile you’re on camera”.
Are there any “natural ladders” which can used to access upper levels of your home?
Natural ladders could be sturdy trees very close to upper windows or patios and wheelie bins against the walls. Consider trimming or removing lower branches of the tree to make it harder to climb and always make sure that wheelie bins are stored well away from patios or unsecured windows.
Does your home look vacant?
If yes, maintain the appearance that the home is not vacant by bringing in the mail regularly and not leaving the bins out for extended periods of time.
Assess inside your home
Do you have your house and vehicle keys and / or garage remotes out of sight or are they on a hook or in a bowl close to the front door?
If yes, always store your keys out of view and away from external doors and windows and never leave your garage remote or a spare set of house or car keys in your car. If a burglar makes it into your home, a key bowl will be the first place that they look!
Are your valuables secure and stored out of public view?
If you valuable can be seen through the window or front door, consider placing them in a safer spot out of sight, like in a safe or secured drawer. Valuable items on display or in view either in the yard on from a door or window can attract opportunistic offences.
Have you engraved your belongings with a form of personal identification (e.g. name / initials)?
If no, consider marking your belongings. Personal identification will help Police with investigations and returning your items if they are stolen.
Be careful where you check in!
As your thoughts turn to holidays and travel remember to be careful about checking-in to your dream destination on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter! While it seems like a good idea at the time, it is important to remember who else may become aware of your whereabouts when you check-in online.
Offenders often use social media sites to search for their next target - don’t let it be you and don’t forget to cancel any deliveries before you leave. Ask a trusted neighbour to clear your mailbox.
Reporting suspicious or criminal activity
Any suspicious activity or anti-social behaviour occurring in your neighbourhood or around your property should be reported as follows:
In an Emergency
For life threatening matters, crime in progress, or when the event is time critical, you should call 000 - Triple Zero.