The end of January is a time of year when consideration should be made towards the ongoing protection and security of your property, your family home and your belongings.
Normality begins to reassert itself within neighborhoods - the kids go off to school while mum and dad head back to work after the traditional summer holiday break.
It is during this time that the risk of your family home being broken into while you and your family are not there is increased.
If you add to this the recent bushfire disaster and ongoing drought throughout our district, you can start to see an environment where the criminal element living among us will see perfect opportunities to advance their own gains and prey on the vulnerable and those disadvantaged by such tragedies.
By implementing relatively simple and inexpensive measures you can help reduce the risk of property theft of your most valued possessions. This can give you greater emotional stability as well as help to develop a broader sense of belonging and strength in your own community, as you contribute to making your community a safer place to live.
I have listed strategies below that on their own or implemented collectively will help to improve the security of your property. The initial cost may seem outside that in which you may well be prepared to pay, citing insurance and low crime trends in your area as a decision not to increase security. If you are insured, read the fine print of your policy, don't be ignorant of detail. Ensure that you are covered under all possibilities. I have insurance for my boat, however the trailer must be fitted with an approved anti-theft device and I accept this as a reasonable means to protect my property.
Is your street number clearly visible? Clearly visible street numbers allow emergency services to find your home.
Are warning signs displayed? Warning signs can be displayed around the perimeter of your home and property advising of the security measures in place to deter potential intruders.
Are the fences and gates on your property able to restrict access to your property? Sturdy fences and gates with good locks are a strong deterrent to thieves.
Ensure the landscaping is free from potential 'hiding places' for thieves. Wherever practical, keep trees and shrubs trimmed, improving visibility of your home and reducing a thief's opportunity to break in unseen.
Do you have security lights outside your home? Once movement is detected sensor security lights can deter thieves for fear of being seen, install them around the home to keep criminals away.
Are external doors of solid construction? External doors and frames should be of solid construction. The stronger the external doors the more time a thief will need to spend breaking in, providing the doors are locked.
Are entry and exit points adequately lit? Security lighting should be projected outwards towards pathways and gates, not towards windows and doors. If thieves attempt to enter in well lit areas neighbors have a better chance of noticing the crime and contacting police.
Are the streetlights in your area operating? High visibility will deter thieves from breaking into your home. Report any street lights not working to your local council (note: some major roads are the responsibility of the Roads and Maritime Services).
Do you lock your garage/garden shed when you are away from home? Garages/garden sheds are targets for thieves. They should be fitted with solid doors and deadlocks. Most home alarms can have their monitoring parameters extended to protect your garage too.
Are tools, gardening equipment, ladders, etc. locked away when not in use? Garden tools, equipment and ladders should be locked away when not in use to prevent thieves from using them to gain access to your home.
Are windows within the garage fitted with window lock sets? Windows within garages and garden sheds should also be fitted with quality lock sets to restrict access.
Take into consideration:
Security lighting, home alarm systems, engraving and invisible marking of your property, recording details of property with serial numbers, model numbers etc., photograph items of value such as jewelry, antiques, watches, artworks, collections, coins, stamps etc.
I wish you well for 2020.