There’s nothing like the gut-wrenching feeling of being broken into.
The sense of violation as you walk through each room knowing someone has rifled through your stuff and wondering what else is missing.
With insurance premiums going up, and opportunist thieves looking for any way to make a quick buck, having adequate house security is key to protecting your valuables.
Statistics from AA Insurance show that 63% of break-ins happen when we’re away for less than 24 hours and only 55% of us actually turn the alarm on every time we leave the house – even for short trips.
Armstrong Smarter Security Franchise Manager, Sandy Morrison, says the average professional burglar is in and out in 13 minutes, if they’re any good at what they do.
“They are impulsive. They’ll walk down the street and look at the easiest option to hit or they’ll go into a carpark and smash the window of the car that’s easiest to steal product out of. In cars, hide your stuff in the boot so it can’t be seen and do the same around your properties.”
He says if you can put enough deterrents in place, you can greatly improve the chances of criminals looking elsewhere to break into.
“Anything you can do to stop or make it difficult for burglars to get in or to make it harder for them to get goods back out is worth doing.”
“Deadlocks and dead-lock stickers are good deterrents. They work well because it makes the average ratbag think about it.”
Window stays in residential properties are also becoming popular as they can significantly slow down the process of breaking in.
Alarms vs. cameras
Sandy says if you had to go with either alarms or cameras as your best line of defence, he would go alarms before cameras.
“They are two different objects, alarms make a noise, and cameras capture an image. So I think they are both equally effective. A professional burglar will look to see if he’s going to be recorded or whether there’s an alarm that will go off.
“But I think the most economical and effective thing is an alarm. Cameras can cost a little bit more. A monitored alarm with a response where someone turns up is the best if they really want to go out to that extent.”
He says a good wireless DIY alarm system is the Risco Agility 3.
“If they can install it themselves, they’re about $1,200. It’s self-monitored back to your phone which is a very good starting point for someone who wanted a good alarm. It also has a camera that takes up to seven photos so it’s a really good entry level unit.”
Another effective method of helping police recover goods is getting a UV pen and writing your Driver’s Licence number on all your valuable goods.
“It becomes invisible to the end user but the police pick it up with a blue light and that’s what they use to return goods and prosecute people.”
Sandy’s tips to keep your house safe:
Deadlock bolts with deadlock stickers on the doors/windows
Alarms (self and third-party monitored)
Intercoms – both at the gate and at the door with combined speaker and camera
For special valuables, get a safe. Put it in a quality safe which is bolted down. Most burglars won’t target a safe unless they know what’s in it specifically and they come looking for that.
Don’t leave shoes, wheel-barrows, spades etc outside. It all gets pinched. Any time you can keep product out of sight, it lessens the risk of someone jumping the fence and coming on the property to steal it.”
With homes, if you go out, make sure there’s a flood or sensor light on. This is for your own safety when you arrive home as well as so that it lights up if someone comes on the property. When a set of lights come on, and most of them, the majority of them will hesitate.”
One of the greatest things people can do is get involved in a Neighbourhood Watch or something similar like a community street awareness programme where everyone keeps an eye of for each other.
Automated gates can be expensive, but even if you put on standard gates that shut and lock. A gate that locks with a code on it is good.