How break-in victims can get reimbursed for their home security upgrades

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

Victims of property break-ins can receive up to $550 to help fund home security upgrades as part of a new Neighbourhood Watch program. 

The Safer Australia For Everyone (SAFE) initiative aims to help families in property-offence-prone areas minimise the impact of future attacks or burglaries by building up their home security. 

SAFE is designed around the concept of ‘target hardening’, which helps homeowners with the costs of implementing effective security upgrades to better safeguard their homes and families from property-related crime. 

The program comes as the nation continues to witness increases in break-ins, sneak-breaks and other property-related offences across much of the country.

Property-related offences in Western Australia have continued to escalate over the past three years, reaching 67,975 incidents for 2023-2024, up from 61,672 two years prior. 

Meanwhile, unlawful entries in Queensland rose from 39,046 in 2021 to 49,890 in 2023, an increase of 27 per cent. 

And in the ACT, residents have claimed the state’s capital is facing a property crime wave, often feeling unsupported by police. 

Western Australian property crime stats 23/24 FYTD

o   67,975 property-related offences 

o   28,322 property damage incidents

o   13,000 dwelling burglaries 

o   84,133 cases of stealing

Maria Bennett, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, says the new rebate scheme was an incentive for families to take action to safeguard their homes better.

“Our rebate is a crucial resource for residents to proactively enhance their home security,” she said. 

“While the $550 may not cover the entirety of one’s security needs, it serves as a foundational step towards deterring potential burglars…” 

Build-it’s free tips to boost your home security

  • Communicate suspicious behaviour with neighbours and police
  • Ensure all doors, garages and windows are locked while away from the home.
  • Ensure all doors and windows without security screens are locked at night. 
  • Invest in home security equipment 
  • Keep valuables out of sight and apparent places, especially car keys 
  • Join your local neighbourhood watch group 

The pilot program will provide welcome relief to families struggling to manage the cost-of-living crisis who are faced with the anxious decision of spending hundreds on security upgrades or risk becoming a repeat victim of property-related crime.

Currently only available in break-in hotspots such as Belmont, Armadale and Gosnells in Western Australia, Toowoomba and Highlands in Queensland and Canberra in the ACT, the scheme will reimburse victims for the cost of upgrading their locks, lighting, surveillance cameras, alarm systems and security screens.  

Ms Bennett says she hoped the support would help those who have fallen victim to property crime first-hand and make communities safer. 

“Our goal is to help decrease the likelihood of homes being targeted by enhancing the security features,” she said. 

“This rebate is more than just financial assistance; it’s an investment in the safety and well-being of our communities.” 

For those homeowners who don’t reside in a SAFE-eligible area, a new online tool by Neighbourhood Watch has all the advice, tips and tricks needed to make home’s more secure.

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.

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO Bambi 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.

“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.

Applications for the Target Hardening support offer close on March 23rd.

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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.

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