The summer months in Australia are the stuff of legend.

With schools enjoying their end-of year holidays, it’s a time when families take advantage of their annual Summer holiday away from home. As well as a focus on minimising road trauma at this time of the year, Police are also urging the community to take simple steps when it comes to crime prevention throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

“While there is no good time to be a victim of theft, the holiday period is a particularly painful one,” says Victoria Police Superintendent, Peter Greaney. “Thieves will literally steal presents off the backseats of cars and from underneath Christmas trees,” he said.

Far from cancelling your plans to enjoy time away, there are a number of really simple precautions you can take that can significantly reduce the likelihood of your home being targeted for a burglary, as Superintendent Greaney explains:

“An alarm system is a good deterrent,” he says. “If a quality, monitored alarm system is a bit beyond your means though, the next best thing is to install good quality, key-operated locks on doors and windows around your home. It’s also a good idea to remove valuable items from plain sight, like car keys, wallets and cash.”

And, as much as it would sound like something you automatically do before heading off on your holiday, Superintendent Geary recommends double-checking that all doors and windows to your home are locked before you leave. “Unlocked side and rear doors are the most common entry points for burglars,” he says. “so check that they’ve been locked before leaving home.”

Some of the other ‘tells’ would-be burglars look for when trying to identify an unoccupied house are overflowing letterboxes and wheelie-bins. “Make your house look occupied at all times,” says Superintendent Greaney.

“If you’re one of those people who still has a newspaper delivered, get your newsagent to suspend delivery while you’re away. Ask a neighbour to collect your mail and ask them if they can put your bins out on bin night. If you’re going to be away for a while, organise to have your lawns mowed.” If you see suspicious behaviour, report it to police immediately via Triple Zero (000).

Victoria Police has also developed a series of crime prevention fact sheets to educate and empower the community to keep themselves, their family and community safe. They’re available for download at www.police.vic.gov.au.

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