Don't give thieves your presents

Don't gift thieves your presents

Dec 2015

For most, the festive season is a time for presents. That includes thieves, where the Christmas holiday period can be a busy one.

At the shops
At home (and away)
Online
 

At the shops

Everyone is after a bargain for Christmas shopping, and it can be great to find a steal.

But crooks are out there looking for a steal of their own, and it’s from your car.

Shoppers can make multiple trips with presents piling up in the boot and back seat.

Thieves are aware of this and target cars leading up to Christmas, according to Melbourne crime prevention officer leading senior constable Glenn McFarlane.

“Be alert and observant, look around and make sure you’re not being observed,” he says.

It’s best to keep Christmas presents away from view, and always remember to lock your car.

If you see anyone hanging around car parks acting suspicious, Glenn suggests taking a discreet photo, but never put yourself in danger by doing so.

“A photo is worth a thousand words, and most people have the devices these days,” he says.

Glenn says ensuring your number plates are secure is important, and recommends one-way screws.

“Checking they’re secure should be part of the maintenance of your vehicle,” he says.

At home (and away)

Once you’ve opened your Christmas presents, remember to take the usual security precautions, even in the heat. Lock doors and windows and don’t leave things in view.

RACV general manager home services Aaron Flavell says a big deterrent is a visible security system monitored by a back-to-base monitoring centre.

“Research shows burglars are less likely to target a property if a security system is present and clearly visible,” he says.

Aaron says it’s important to not advertise the fact you have a new laptop or big-ticket item by putting the box out on the nature strip.

Check out RACV’s 10 tips to avoid burglaries.
 

Online

Social media has become a tool for thieves. Location sharing features used sometimes unintentionally by unsuspecting holiday makers can give away exact locations.

These features tell people who is on holiday and indicate an empty home. Try turning off location sharing, and don’t announce travel plans and the relevant travel dates to the world.

Don’t share your home address and if it needs to be, do so by private message.

Check privacy settings on each platform regularly as they can change.

Previously, in Safe as Houses, we discovered thieves comb holiday listings for inspiration.

Written by RACV
November 13, 2016