Although incidents of offences against property have generally dipped across Western Australia, incidents of burglary, theft, property damage, arson, shoplifting, and vehicle theft still remain high compared to other types of crime. According to the Western Australia Police Force, offences against property have a 5-year average of 163,804.4. Theft still ranks high as the type of property crime commonly reported by Western Australians. Property damage, dwelling burglary, non-dwelling burglary, vehicle theft, and arson follow closely behind. When you zoom in, the number of property crimes reported is roughly the same for the metropolitan areas and the suburbs.
The prevalence of robbery in Australia is lower compared to developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States. Sweden, Canada, and New Zealand. But when it comes to burglary, Australia belongs to the top ten along with Denmark, New Zealand, Austria, Iceland, Sweden, England and Wales, Chile, Belgium, and Switzerland. Australia ranks second when it comes to reporting property crimes (second only to New Zealand). The country is followed closely behind by Italy, the United Kingdom, Malta, Canada, and the United States.
Is Your Home or Commercial Property Vulnerable to Burglary and Other Property Crimes?
When it comes to protecting your home or business, it’s best to think like a burglar and actively look for red flags and other vulnerabilities in your property. Below are some key indicators that your home will be an easy target for burglars.
You deliberately leave your front door or garage door unlocked or you sometimes forget to lock them altogether. Thieves don’t always have to smash a window or jump over the fence to enter your home. All they need is to check if you’re home, a little bit of nonchalance to act like they belong, and turn your doorknob to know if they can enter your house without going through much hassle. If your neighbours are away or if you recently moved into the area and you have not introduced yourself to your neighbours, chances are no one will notice that your house has been broken into.
You don’t have a dog. A property guarded by a dog is less likely to be burglarized compared to ones that sit empty all day long. It has been proven time and again that the mere presence of a dog—even the small yappy ones—has the power to deter would-be burglars from breaking into a home.
You live in a townhome or your house is located in an area with light foot traffic (such as in a cul-de-sac). The property is doubly vulnerable to burglary if it is situated near an open lot or a forest., or your house is concealed by trees. Paradoxically, homes with high or seemingly impenetrable walls give the impression that the owner has something valuable to conceal, making the house more tempting for burglars to break into.
You leave your windows open, or even if you are diligent in closing them, they can be easily broken into. Some windows are notoriously easy to break into; the thief can simply smash the glass of the casement window or pick the lock of the sliding windows and they are automatically inside the house.
You live in a neighbourhood where burglary is the norm rather than the exception. Homes in new developments, neighbourhoods with high foot traffic, and high-income neighbourhoods are some of the top places where thieves will likely strike.
You neglect your lawn and leave your trash on the curb. Burglars will assume that no one’s home when you neglect to mow your lawn or trim the shrubs around your house, making your home an easy target for break-ins. Overgrown shrubs and trees are perfect for personal privacy, but the plants can also be used by thieves to conceal their presence from your nosy neighbours. Houses with boxes and packaging of high-ticket items (such as the latest TV, electronic devices, or jewelry) lying around the curb are also vulnerable to break-ins.
Although a large number of thieves strike during the daytime when homeowners are typically at work or in school, some burglars prefer to break into houses under the cover of darkness. This makes poorly lit houses more vulnerable to break-ins than those with adequate lighting especially in key areas of the house, such as the front door or backyard.
Being indiscreet about your vacation plans can also make your home vulnerable to break-ins. Telling everyone within hearing distance that you’re going out of town or posting your vacation pics all over your social media can make your property an easy target for thieves who will only be too happy to find that you will not be at home to stop them.
Your home or commercial property is not equipped with an alarm or CCTV system. It has been proven that homes or commercial properties with alarm systems or visible security cameras are less likely to be broken into than ones that don’t have these precautionary measures. Even if your home is equipped with security cameras or alarm systems, you will still need to be diligent with activating it all day to prevent break-ins or to catch burglars in action.
Safety Measures: What You Can Do To Deter Burglars From Entering Your Property
Install multiple mechanical locks (deadbolts, mortise locks, chain locks) on your front door, as well as the other entryways of your home, such as your garage, kitchen door, etc. If you can afford it, have a trusted security system provider install a home access control system so you can control and monitor the people who enter your property. But all these safety measures will be useless if you will not be diligent in locking your doors.
Front doors are not the only way thieves will use to enter your home, so keep your windows closed and locked always. If your house has sliding windows, make sure that you place a wood dowel that you can fit between the jamb and the window itself to prevent break-ins.
Ensure that your property is always well-lit at night. If you want to save electricity and money, you can install cost-effective motion sensor lighting in your front porch, backyard, and other dark corners of your home.
Get your own furry best friend to guard your home. You don’t even need to get a large and terrifying guard dog to deter burglars. Often, all you need is a tiny yet noisy pet that would bark its little head off and alarm you or your neighbours in case of break-ins.
Even if you’re the introverted type who only wants to mind your own business, it’s always prudent to at least introduce yourself to your neighbours and establish goodwill so they can help keep watch on your home when you’re not around. Sometimes, it’s the annoying nosy neighbours who can spot a burglary so it’s always good to be on good terms with them.
Don’t leave boxes or packaging of high-ticket items lying around. You might think that the boxes or packaging are only trash, but these items are virtual advertisements for thieves that you have something valuable in your home. Same goes for your ladder, tools, children’s skateboards, bikes, and other toys.
Ensure that your lawn is always clean and well-kept by mowing your lawn and trimming shrubs and trees that surround your home. For some burglars and other intruders, an overgrown and unkept lawn is the first sign that no one’s home, to ensure that your house will not be easy pickings for criminals by keeping your lawn mowed regularly. Keep the shrubs well-trimmed and prune the trees which surround your house to ensure that these will not be used by burglars to conceal their presence from your neighbours or any concerned passers-by. Burglars can also climb the trees and gain access to your house via a second-storey window, so make sure that you prune them regularly.
If you are moving into a new home, always change the locks or have them changed by your landlord (if they haven’t done so already). You’ll never know when an unscrupulous old tenant might return and make off your valuables. Better to be safe than sorry.
Forget about hiding spare keys underneath your floor mat or under the flower pot. Thieves are already familiar with this old ruse used by forgetful homeowners. If you’re going out of town for business or for pleasure, you can leave your spare keys with a trusted neighbour instead.
If you and your family are leaving your house for an extended vacation, make sure that you inform your neighbours beforehand so they can look after your property. Double-check every door and window to make sure that you have locked them before you leave. Don’t leave the lights on your porch 24-hours a day as thieves know that this is only a ruse to give them the impression that you’re home. Instead, have a trusted friend or your neighbour collect any mail or package delivered to your home. If you’re going on an extended trip to somewhere distant and luxurious, it’s understandable that you’re proud of it and may want to tell a lot of people about it on social media. But be prudent when posting on social media about your vacation especially if you have set your profile on “public”. Don’t let would-be thieves know that your house is empty and take your absence as the perfect time to help themselves to your valuables.