Safe as houses Part 4 - Eastern suburbs

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East is not the neighbourhood for crooks. Few burglars live the eastern suburbs and security keeps break-ins in the region well below the state average.

While there has been an increase in burglaries in most of the eastern suburbs in the past year, statistics show that eastern suburbs homes are on average still safer than other areas.

Box Hill detective senior sergeant Ian Shepherd says the majority of burglars don’t live in the eastern suburbs.

“A lot of our crime is linked to the public transport system and freeways, you get burglaries around freeway exits and railway stations,” he said.”

New boundaries

After an electoral redistribution, two postcodes in the top-40 most burgled are new to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs region this safe as houses series.

Postcodes 3079 and 3081 – which include Ivanhoe, Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights and Bellfield – had been in in the northern suburbs but are now included in the east.

The highest burglary rate is in postcode 3081 (Heidelberg West, Heidelberg and Bellfield) which ranked third in this year’s top 40 most burgled suburbs. Ivanhoe was ninth. In Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights and Bellfield, one in 26 homes are burgled on average.

The rate drops to one in 37 homes in Ivanhoe, one in 64 in Balwyn, one in 68 in Heidelberg and Rosanna, and one in 70 in Box Hill, Box Hill South, Wattle Park and Lower Plenty. These are slightly higher than the state average of one in 73 homes burgled. It’s not unusual for the rate to drop below one home in 100 in the east. Despite an increase on last year, only one in 156 homes were burgled in Warrandyte. It is also a low rate of one in 158 homes in Donvale, one in 177 in Mooroolbark and one in 193 in The Basin.

Unwelcome visitors

Detective senior sergeant Ian Shepherd, of the crime investigation unit, says that in the past burglars stole TVs and music systems, but now target smaller valuable items such as jewellery, cash, phones and iPads.

He says that, unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to take care of our things, including inside the home. “You’d think it’s your house and you can do what you like, but it happens regularly, where things are easily accessible, and the burglars are in and out again.”

Security measures

RACV general manager home services Aaron Flavell says it is common in the east to see RACV members taking proactive steps to secure their homes.

More homes are protected by RACV monitored home security systems. “The combined effort of proactive policing and homeowners taking steps to enhance their home security contributes to the low burglary rate in Melbourne’s east,” he says. Aaron says it is important to maintain home security no matter where you live, as burglaries happen everywhere.

2015 burglary statistics

This is the fourth in RoyalAuto’s Safe as Houses 2015 series on burglary statistics. The series will next focus on the south-eastern metropolitan electoral region, including suburbs such as Clayton, Springvale, Berwick, Cranbourne, Mordialloc and Frankston.

How does your suburb compare? Search your suburb and find out. Find out more about RACV home security and RACV insurance.

In 1997 there was, on average, a burglary every 11 minutes. RACV has been analysing the crime statistics back to this time to inform members about what was happening in their suburbs and to provide strategies for protecting themselves and their homes. The base data, which RACV Home Services analyses each year, is sourced from Victoria Police crime statistics, and is matched with the number of occupied houses according to census and local government data.Navigate home

Whitehorse Neighbourhood Watch secretary Alison Summers says theft from cars is a problem in the area. She says leaving a GPS or personal documents in your car can lead thieves straight to your home when you are not there. “When you’ve left your GPS in the car, they (burglars) tell it to go home, jump in their own car and there’s your burglary,” she says. Alison reminds people to lock their cars, remove valuables and leave the windows up. She says it’s the same with houses. “Nothing will physically stop burglars if they want to get in they’ll get in. It’s all a deterrent if you make your house more difficult to break into … they’ll move onto the next house.”

Caught on camera

In May 2013, two crooks knew no one was home at a house in Rosanna. Seizing the opportunity, they broke in, stacked their chosen items in a washing basket and were preparing to leave. However, the burglars were disturbed and fled.  

But this lucky escape for the homeowner and the burglars wasn’t the end of the story. The burglars triggered the security system and their actions were streaming live to the owner’s phone and computer. He quickly called the police.  

Banyule detective sergeant Andrew Beames knew the two recidivist offenders were not going to escape.

“The footage was sensational. The owner had the camera hidden in a wall unit near the TV,” he says.

“It captured a close-up of the faces of the offenders, which was magnificent. Most CCTV is above and only gets the top of a hoodie or a baseball cap … but this worked a treat. It’s a great example of the advantage of CCTV and home security systems.”

After the footage was shown on the television news, police received information that enabled them to arrest the offenders.

Written by RACV
February 22, 2019