MAINTAINING A HOME
Home security tips
Burglaries don’t happen by chance – there are many factors which can enhance the risk1. That may sound ominous, but it’s actually good news! It means that, by taking a few steps to improve your home security, you’re likely able to reduce the risk of being targeted.
Rates of burglary and theft
In the 2021-22 financial year, the rate of break-ins in Australia increased for the first time in over a decade. 2% of households experienced a break-in during that 12-month period2.
During the incidents:
- 65% of households had something stolen (125,300), and
- 44% of households had property damaged (84,500).
This period also produced the following stats:
- 2% of Australian households experienced an attempted break-in – up from 1.8% in 2020-21.
- 2.4% of households experienced theft from a motor vehicle.
- 3.8% of households experienced malicious property damage.
Common risk factors of burglary and theft
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) identified factors that can increase the risk of a burglary or theft occurring. These included the following:
- Overgrown gardens, which can obscure the view of your home and provide a place to hide.
- Location; for instance, proximity to pawn shops or public transport.
- Unlocked doors and windows.
- Homes being left unoccupied for long periods of time.1
10 ways to improve your home security
Lock your doors and windows
This may seem like home security 101, but you'd be surprised by how often burglaries occur because someone just forgot to lock up when they went out. Remembering to check and lock points of entry every time you leave home could go a long way to preventing theft.
Consider smart home technology
One way to keep an eye on your home, without being in it, is with a smart home alarm system. Entry-level models come equipped with alarms, cameras and sensors that connect via wireless internet to send alerts to your smartphone if anything's amiss. Some models can even lock a door remotely using a dedicated app.
Be aware of who you let into your house
If you have regular visitors, such as cleaners or tradies, it's important to establish early on whether you can trust them. After all, they'll be working amongst your most prized possessions. Ask your family and friends to see if they can recommend someone for the job or ask for references when hiring, and check reviews when using services like Airtasker or Hipages.
Maintain your home
An overgrown garden will provide a burglar with somewhere to hide, so keep any large bushes or trees trimmed. It's also worth making sure your home is well-lit. If you have security lights on timers, check them regularly so you know whether the bulbs need to be replaced.
Get a friend to housesit when you go away
Having someone stay in your home when you go can help reduce the likelihood of it being targeted, as criminals often look for signs that a home is empty and has been so for several days. Plus it comes with the added bonus of your plants and fur babies being looked after.
Install sensor lights
Installing sensor lighting in your front yard – and perhaps your backyard too – is a great way to deter potential burglars. It’s also a practical addition for when you arrive or leave home at night, too!
Protect your wi-fi network
A vulnerable wi-fi connection can leave your personal data open to hackers and could also grant them access to your smart devices. Luckily, there are simple (and free) ways you can keep your wi-fi on lockdown:
- Create a strong password – ‘Password123’ isn’t going to cut it anymore. Leaving the default password that’s written underneath the router isn’t always the safest option, either – it’s best practice to not have your password written down anywhere.
- Enable WPA or WPA5 encryption.
- Rename your wi-fi network – the default SSID (the name given to your wireless network) is usually the brand name of your router. This can give hackers more information to try and get into your wi-fi. Change the name to something random (without using other identifiers like, for example, your apartment number). The longer the name, the harder it usually is for hackers to attack, too.
- Enable your router’s built-in firewall.
If any of these suggestions sound a bit too technical to do yourself, your internet provider should be able to help.
Make it look like you’re home
When you’re away, it can be easy for a savvy thief to identify your home as a target. Thankfully, you can take simple steps to prevent this – like pausing or redirecting your newspaper delivery, leaving lights on, and asking a trusted neighbour to collect your mail and put your bins out (and bring them back in!).
Put valuable items in a safe
Putting valuable or irreplaceable possessions like jewellery, money, important documents and family heirlooms in a locked, immovable safe is a great way to know the things that matter most to you will always be secure.
Insure your belongings
It can help to have home insurance. Though it's difficult to replace items of sentimental value, home and contents insurance can cover your home and possessions if they're affected by an insured event like burglary or theft. Suncorp's Home and Contents Insurance has three levels of coverage, so you can choose a policy that's right for you.
- 10 tips to protect your home and contents
- What can a handyman do for me?
- How personal valuables insurance can help
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.