RAA warns that, with many homeowners taking advantage of the double public holidays, burglars are on the lookout for soft Easter targets.
Ben Nottage, from RAA Secure Services says burglars target premises where they know the owners are away and sometimes they don’t even enter the home, but steal items in sheds, garages or even gardens, that can quickly be converted to cash.
“The recent case of a thief caught with 18 garden taps is an example – and they also steal tools, bikes, potted plants and even BBQ gas bottles,” said Mr Nottage.
SAPOL’s annual report reveals there were 10,230 incidents of serious criminal trespass in residences during the 2012-2013 financial year – a sobering statistic for any homeowner.
“People shouldn’t think they have to barricade their homes, but they need to be aware and take precautions before they leave, so it doesn’t become an obvious and easy target.
“Burglars look for clues about vacant premises – an overheard conversation, closed curtains, lights out, overflowing mailboxes – and they could be anywhere in your neighbourhood, work environment, or online,” says Mr Nottage.
He also urges holiday goers to remember valuables that are in the yard or stored in sheds and garages, especially high value items like racing bikes, BBQs and lawnmowers.
“Either move them inside the home, relocate them, or make sure your shed and garage are securely locked or alarmed. Strategically placed sensor lights can also deter thieves from lingering around your yard.
“Organising a house sitter, or getting a neighbour or friend to drop by regularly are effective strategies to keep your home off the soft target list.
“Alarms, deadlocks and security gates are also a real deterrent – they just make breaking into your home much riskier and harder for would be thieves,” says Mr Nottage.
RAA’s Holiday Security Tips
• organise a house sitter or get somebody to drop by and check on things regularly
• never leave a holiday message on your answering machine
• use timer switches on lights and radios. Tune to talk back programs as it gives an impression of people at home
• leave curtains and blinds partially open and hang some old clothes on your clothes line
• ask a trusted neighbour to park their car in your driveway
• arrange mail collection and rubbish bins in and out
• don’t broadcast that you are away on social media
• relocate or duplicate important documents like bank statements and passports
• if you have an alarm, tell neighbours what to do if the alarm is activated and notify your security company of your holiday dates.