Does your home look lived in?

With more reasons to leave the house as the weather heats up, summer is also a chance for opportunistic thieves to cash in on unattended homes.

Warmer days bring a spike in crime rates all around Australia. In fact, in 2011 police called for more funding to address a 10% rise in property crime and higher summer crime rates.* And this time last year, warnings were issued to residents after thieves took to scaling apartment buildings.**

Meanwhile, if you’re connected to social media, sharing summer adventures with friends exposes you to potential thieves. According to a survey of 69 burglars conducted by Perth’s Edith Cowen University, social networking sites are one of the most popular ways a burglar will identify a potentially vacant home to pilfer.***

The research also found burglars spend an average of just five to 15 minutes breaking into a home and often steal cash or goods worth up to $5000 per home. Love your latest gaming console and games? Our data shows thieves love them too. Both the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii were in the top ten most stolen items in the 2011/12 financial year.+

Taking simple steps like avoiding social media status updates and ‘checking in’ can help to ensure your valued items remain in your possession when you arrive home.

Research shows some longstanding out-of-the-house habits also have faults. Lights turned on with blinds and curtains drawn late at night can advertise a potentially empty home.++ Thieves easily tune in to these ‘false’ habits. Instead, consider smart and safe home automation ideas or appliances that can be turned on/off via a smartphone. With applications that can access your home appliances remotely you can mitigate risk by turning lights on/off at random when you’re not at home.

Anyone watching your home will find it difficult to identify patterns and assume you’re home.

Locking windows is a must but what about thinking outside the norm?

A ‘lived-in’ appearance is one example. Ask neighbours to check on your home and use your driveway as their extra parking space when you’re on holiday.

Outside lights also prove off-putting for intruders. However, easy-access to the side of your house circumvents these efforts – help deter thieves with a simple padlock. Leaving valuables in full view or not using your alarm system could also let down otherwise-vigilant home security.

Installing a reliable home alarm system with back to base monitoring and alarm response patrols is another sure way to improve the security of your home. Alarm systems can even include passive infrared motion sensors and perimeter security switches that activate if an intruder attempts to force a window or door.

Other ways to beef up your home security this summer:

  • Leave your keys with a friend
  • Ensure your rubbish bins are collected while on holiday
  • Hold off on posting vacation/business trip photos until you are home
  • Monitor your online friends to ensure you trust them
  • Don't give details or hints of your address or personal details online

Those big days out and long nights are about to heat up. Fine-tuning your home security approach means focusing energy on relaxing, not worrying.

NRMA Home Security offers a wide range of reliable and cost effective home alarm packages that can also help you save on NRMA Home Contents Insurance.

NRMA Home Security is provided by Insurance Australia Limited NSW Master Licence No. 409604820. ACT Master Licence No. 17501127.

*    www.news.com.au/national/police-launch-3m-summer-crime-blitz/story-e6frfkp9-1226226816010 
**   www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/spiderman-thieves-targeting-apartments-20121109-292o7.html 
***  www.ecu.edu.au/news/media-releases/2012/12/inside-the-mind-of-a-burglar 
+   www.nrma.com.au/thieves-will-play 
++  www.ecu.edu.au/news/media-releases/2012/12/inside-the-mind-of-a-burglar