Keeping your home as well as yourself safe and secure is always important, especially when you're away.
The first thing to do is try to think like a burglar, according to Kingston crime prevention officer Leading Senior Constable Lisa Dobbie. Walk around the outside of your home and try to find a quiet and discreet way in.
“Consider how secluded it is, how well lit, or any possibility of neighbours or passers-by seeing you,” she says.
“Look for tools lying around that could be used to break in, or if windows or doors are left unlocked or slightly ajar.”
Look at the interactive virtual house, a joint initiative by RACV, Victoria Police, Neighbourhood Watch and Lockwood, to see where you could improve your home safety.
RACV general manager of home services Aaron Flavell says it’s important to ensure that all doors and windows are well secured with locks made to Australian standards and that you lock up – even when you're at home.
He recommends a professionally monitored security system, such as RACV's 24-hour back to base monitored service for members to have the best peace of mind.
If you’re heading off on a holiday, don’t advertise the fact that the home is empty, Lisa says.
“Bins left out too long and overflowing mailboxes are a good indication to offenders that no-one is home, and that they are unlikely to be disturbed.”
It is also important to be aware of your surroundings when returning to home at night, according to Lisa.
“If you wander along the street with headphones in, checking Facebook on your phone, you're unlikely to see or hear anything untoward until you're upon it. By then it could be too late.”
She says walking confidently and being aware of the people around you will make you far less likely to be targeted.
Outdoor security tips
- Have neighbours assist with bringing in bins and mail if you are away.
- If you’re walking alone or at night, try to stick to well-populated areas and walk on the well lit side of the street.
- Be alert and call 000 if you see anything suspicious – this will still work if your phone has no SIM card or area coverage.
- Consider carrying a personal alarm; there are key rings with torches and personal alarms.
- Plan your route before leaving home so you don't find yourself in unfamiliar territory.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
- If you're parking your car and won’t come back until after dark, try to park in a well-lit area.
- Have your car keys ready before arriving at your car so you're not distracted while rummaging through bags or pockets.
- Trees and shrubs should not obscure views to your property.
- Don’t leave tools lying around that could be used to break in.