Safe as Houses Part 9: Eastern Victoria
Have you gone online to find a home for a nice getaway? Have you listed your own holiday home online? Holidaymakers aren’t the only ones looking online. Thieves comb online holiday home listings, according to Latrobe’s community liaison officer Leading Senior Constable Brett Godden. He watches over the Latrobe Valley, Baw Baw and Bass Coast.
On the listings, homeowners often feature photos from inside the home as well as the dates the home is available. Brett recommended homeowners not to list the specific dates when advertising online, or not have a comprehensive set of photos. He said thieves will target entire streets, and this happens in Inverloch, Cape Paterson, San Remo and other areas where holiday homes sit vacant.
Brett also said holiday homes aren’t what they used to be.
“What we find now is the holiday house is set up like the home, quite often we’re talking about two flat screen TVs and the game consoles,” he said.
Around the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, they had a spate of burglaries. There were eight burglaries in Cape Paterson, with thieves stealing TVs and food from kitchens.
But the police aren’t trailing behind, they’re online too. Brett has his own Facebook page, and so do police in the Latrobe Valley. The page started last year and already has more than 8200 fans. Police use the page to get information out quickly and to catch crooks.
“We’ve identified 25-26 persons of interest from Facebook,” Brett said.
“Our fans either contact me, or Crimestoppers, but on the odd occasion they see their photo and give themselves up.”
Eastern Victoria, while relatively safe for home burglaries, is home to six of the top 40 most burgled postcodes in Victoria. According to the RACV figures, postcode 3851, including Seaspray, Montgomery and Darriman, ranks number five in the most burgled postcodes from 2012-2013. The burglary rate was one in 30 homes.
Postcode 3850 including Sale and surrounds ranked 16, with a burglary rate of one in 39 homes. This was Sale’s worst year on record for burglaries. The rate dropped to a very low one in 128 homes in 2007, showing burglaries come in waves. Postcode 3941, including Rye and Tootgarook ranked 24, with a rate of one in 43 homes. Postcode 3915, Hastings, ranked 30, with a rate of one in 45 homes. Postcode 3840, including Morwell and surrounds, ranked 35, with a rate of one in 46. Postcode 3922, Cowes, ranked 37, with a rate of one in 47.
Aside from the six postcodes in the top 40, most postcodes fall below the state average of one in 71 homes burgled. Riskier suburbs include Cockatoo, Moe, Maffra and Kalimna. Safer suburbs include The Basin, with a low one in 191 homes burgled, Upwey with one in 180 and Mt Martha with one in 162.
RACV general manager home services Peter Brindley said it was important to make sure your holiday home is secure.
“Members have made major improvements to security at home, but have not always taken the same steps for their holiday home. The days when it was just an old couch and second hand chairs in the holiday home are largely gone, with many fitted out with the latest furnishings and appliances. So it’s important that the level of security is also stepped up,” he said.
Peter encouraged members to install a monitored alarm service, which is an effective deterrent to thieves, providing peace of mind for your home or holiday home.
On the Mornington Peninsula, which has a combination of residential and holiday homes, safety is an important issue, according to Mayor Antonella Celi. She said Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED) was implemented across the shire through streetscape design works.
As a popular holiday and tourist destination, Antonella said the Shire works closely with local Police on programs such as CampAware. This encourages community safety within foreshore camping areas and works to reduce the incidence of theft and crime. She said the Shire would also like to remind locals and visitors alike to take care and keep safe by ensuring that cars, home and holiday sites are kept secure at all times.
This is the ninth in RoyalAuto's Safe as Houses series, which reports on the long-term burglary statistics in Victoria’s regions. RACV has worked with Victorian Police Crime statistics and the Census data to compile these figures since 1997.
The final in the series will be a wrap-up of Victoria, with on overview of crime and crime prevention in the whole state.
How does your suburb compare? Search your suburb and find out. Find out more about RACV home security.