According to the New Zealand Police, (AIC), burglary is the most common offence reported to police (followed by assaults and vehicle theft). “Burglary”, according to the Police, involves entering an enclosed space with the intention of committing an offence. Unlike robbery, burglary does not necessarily involve violence or threats of violence. An open window, an easily-broken door lock – many houses are easy burglary targets. In fact according to a survey by AA Insurance, thieves are nearly four times more likely to break-in to Kiwi homes when people are at work or home than while they are away on holiday.
There are a large number of ways for a thief to get into a house, however due to the amateur nature of most thieves, protecting against a few key things could significantly reduce your odds of being a victim.
– The front door – it sounds overly simplistic but it’s something you need to consider; could your door be easily kicked down or busted open? If it’s an old hollow-core door, or relies on a doorknob lock instead of a deadlock, the answer is probably yes. The best way of preventing this happening is buying a security screen door that sits in front of your door. This will almost definitely stop any thief from even getting to your front door, let alone kicking it down. And of course, remember to lock it when you go out! Even when you are at home but perhaps in the backyard or at the back of the house, it’s worth keeping the front door locked.
– Windows – glass windows are a simple target for the average thief, requiring not much more than a fist or a rock to break. You can protect against this eventuality by installing security screens behind your windows.
– The back door – much of the above advice concerning your front door is relevant to your back door as well; if it’s able to be kicked down, pried open or simply opened if unlocked, either reinforce it or put a metal mesh screen door in front of it.
In terms of what you should be keeping hidden away when you’re out of the house; electronics are always a target, especially iPads, electronic games and consoles, jewelry and of course cash.
If your property includes anything like a shed or similar external buildings, make sure that they’re secured to the same degree as your house, or better yet, don’t keep valuables in them. Keep things like power tools or lawn mowers in your garage rather than a backyard shed, as the shed will probably be much easier to break into.
A well-secured house – and perhaps a noisy dog – is the best thief deterrent you can have.