Seven home security mistakes you’re probably making
Think your home is secure? These are common ways we make it easy for burglars.
Three households are burgled every hour in Victoria, with thieves breaking into almost 27,000 houses in 2018. While items commonly stolen include electronic devices, jewellery, cash and tools, identity theft is an emerging crime where criminals steal passports and tax returns to assume their victim’s identity.
Some burglaries are unavoidable but in many cases householders are making things all too easy for the thieves. We asked RACV’s trade manager of home security Dean Rossi what many of us are doing wrong.
7 ways you're making yourself a burglary target
- Leaving doors, windows and garages unlocked. As obvious as this seems, Dean says many householders make things easy for burglars by failing to simply lock up. He recommends making things as difficult as possible for opportunistic thieves by installing – and using – door deadlocks, window locks and strong security doors.
- Keeping valuables in plain view. Leaving items such as jewellery, electronic devices or car keys near windows or anywhere they can be seen from outside your house is like leaving an ‘invitation’ for thieves, says Dean.
- Neglecting the garden. Allowing overgrown trees and bushes near common break-in points such as side and rear windows and doors creates hidey-holes where burglars can go about their work safe and unseen. Sensor lights are also a good deterrent.
- Broadcasting holidays on social media. You may be busting to tell the world about your latest adventures in Port Douglas or Portugal, but Dean says those envy-inducing Instagram pics or Facebook posts are an easy way for thieves to tell that not only are you out of town, but also for how long.
- Hiding keys under a doormat or rock. Thieves may be many things but you shouldn’t assume they are so stupid they won’t check all the obvious places for hidden keys. Dean says if you’re really concerned about locking yourself out, install a Smart Lock that can be opened with a code or via a smartphone.
- Neglecting security equipment. Alarm systems and CCTV cameras are good deterrents but they’re much more effective when they’re working. Make sure you have them routinely tested and serviced by a licensed security technician.
- Failing to secure valuable documents. Many people lock up their jewellery and other valuables but make themselves vulnerable to identity theft by leaving documents such as passports, tax returns, bank statements and utility bills lying around on the desk, the hall table or an unlocked garage. In the wrong hands, these documents can be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes, from accessing your bank accounts to stealing your identity.