Homeowners urged to review ho-ho-home security in Christmas crackdown

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

Homeowners are encouraged to review their home security to put off Christmas-crims head of this holiday season.

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria and RACV are urging Victorians to take the necessary steps around their home to help improve their safety from thieving grinches looking to steal Christmas.

The reminder comes off the back of the latest data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency that shows burglary, break-ins and thefts have rocketed 15.6 per cent in the last 12 months alone.

Meanwhile, 57 per cent of car key thefts occurred inside people’s homes.

The jump means property crimes have increased more than any other offence type in Victoria over the last year, with 272,790 incidents reported.

Easy tips to keep home secure

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO Bambi Gordon says simple mitigation methods could help homeowners prevent robberies this Christmas and into the new year.

“There’s a layer of things you can do to make your home safer. In addition to getting to know your neighbours and communicating any suspicious behaviour to police, remember to lock all your doors, windows and garages and invest in home security equipment – that you regularly check,” she said.

“Keeping valuables out of sight may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but many of us will ignore the risks of leaving keys, wallets and bags in plain sight inside a car or by the front door.”

Crims seek easy targets

Ms Gordon says many Aussies who fall victim to property offences make themselves an easy target for crims by ignoring even the most basic home security.

“The frustrating fact is that we need to do better at protecting our properties – a home is burgled in Victoria every 20 minutes, and a third of those burglaries are opportunistic and don’t even require forced entry.” Ms Gordon said.

“Ultimately, burglars are scared of being caught, and they’re lazy – but if we make things easy for them, they will take advantage.”

Another way homeowners can keep the presents under the tree safe is by ensuring they have the proper insurance to cover any stolen items.

RACV Head of Home and Business Insurance Kirsty Hayes says witnessing victims realise they can’t afford to replace robbed possessions is one of the most heartbreaking parts of property theft crimes.

“It’s essential to check that your home insurance is up to date, with an adequate level of cover,” Ms Hayes said.

“You can calculate the estimated cost to repair or replace your contents by using a home contents calculator.”

“You can also look into a variety of home security products from RACV to help protect your home, including alarm systems and monitoring, smart home security and security cameras (CCTV).”

Online tool reviews home security

But for those homeowners who don’t know where to start with their home security, a new online tool by Neighbourhood Watch has all the advice, tips and tricks you’ll need to send the stealing Scrooges safely elsewhere.

The How Safe is My Place platform includes an augmented reality app, checklists, and quizzes to help Aussies identify security vulnerabilities on their property and guide users through how they can make their homes more secure.

The popular tools have even been translated into Chinese, Punjabi and Vietnamese to expand the reach of Neighbourhood Watch – particularly to new migrants hoping for a settled start in their new home.

“Many of these new neighbours are often members of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, and by translating How Safe is My Place into languages other than English, we are making our advice more accessible and supporting people to engage with their neighbours and us,” Ms Gordon said.

Ms Gordon says another great way to stay updated on security risks in your neighbourhood is to join your established local Neighbourhood Watch group at www.nhw.com.au/groups.

Meanwhile, residents living in new builds can spread some extra Christmas cheer to their budding community by starting a neighbourhood watch group of their own.

“Joining or starting a Neighbourhood Watch group in your local area is not only a fantastic way to meet and connect with your neighbours, but also the best crime-prevention tool in your arsenal,” Ms Gordon said.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.