Neighbourhood Watch exists in order to strengthen the connectedness between the Police force and the Community. Crime is everyone’s business, and the Police cannot do their job if residents are not committed to providing for their own safety and security, or reluctant to support the Police in combatting crime.
If we each do our bit, police resources can be allocated to solving crimes of a more serious nature, instead of sorting out residential break-ins that could have been avoided. Burglaries from residential premises impose a significant cost upon the community, and the experience can leave a resident traumatized and feeling unsafe in their own home.
The fact is that around 17% of all incidents of theft in the Derwent Valley involve unlocked houses or motor vehicles. Building sites and vehicles are common targets for thieves, and statistics show that people living near building sites are at a higher risk of being a victim of crime.
Sadly, statistics show that once your home has been burgled, there is a very real possibility that you could be burgled again, and within a short period of time. Our local crime reports reflect this as we often see the same types of crimes repeating themselves along the same streets.
The same burglars may try to burgle a home again once they think that previously stolen items may have been replaced through insurance claims. Or they might know that there are additional items of value in your home and see it as an easy target if they do not notice any obvious improvements in the security of the home. Or they may now have a buyer for an item they noticed on the first occasion.
So how do we “do our bit”?
How many of the following points can you “tick” as forming part of your normal pattern of behaviour when addressing your family’s safety:
• Are your doors and windows visible from the street and not hidden by shrubbery?
• Do you check to see who is at the door before opening it? Even as a tenant, you are within your rights to ask the landlord to install a peephole in your front door, and ensure that all locks and door-chains are strong and in good working order.
• Do you have a spare set of keys held by a trusted neighbour (or do you leave a house key under a mat or pot plant, in a fake “rock” or on the ledge above your door? – favourite spots that criminals will check!)
• Do you have strong locks on sliding glass doors and windows? Try securing them with a simple piece of dowel on the inside track.
• Do you keep an inventory or photos of your belongings in case of theft?
• Do you lock the gates to your backyard?
• Do you lock up your lawn mower, bikes, ladders, tools and other outdoor valuables?
• Do you lock the doors at night and every time you leave the house, even if it is just for a few minutes?
• Have all your keys been rekeyed since you moved in? (The last tenants may have kept copies of their old door keys!)
• Do you keep the front garden neat and tidy, making it look as though the home is occupied even when it isn’t?
• Do you keep an eye out for suspicious activity in and around your neighbours’ houses, and ask them to do the same for you?
• Have you installed outdoor lights at all entrances, or motion-sensor lighting?
As to Motor Vehicle Safety:
• Do you close the windows and lock the car every time you leave it even if you will only be away for a short time? (Be aware that tools left in the back of your ute are an easy target for thieves)
• Do you park the car in a prominent and busy, well-lit area especially if you will be returning to it after dark?
• Do you remove all valuables from view before you park the car, and never leave keys or your name and address details in the car? (including mail items and car registration documents)
Be a Good Neighbour
The 26th March is Neighbour Day. Each year we celebrate this day to remind ourselves of the value of good neighbours. In fact, a good neighbour can be the first line of defence against crime. Get to know them and ask them to keep an eye on your home. This Neighbour Day, why not visit your neighbour or invite them in for a chat and a cuppa, and discuss how you can each help to keep your neighbourhood safe.
One of the most common ways burglars check to see whether a house is occupied is simply by knocking on the door. They may claim to be looking for someone, or ask for a glass of water. If this happens to you, contact your neighbours and let them know. They might have had the same experience. You can then all be on your guard. This is Neighbourhood Watch at its best!
IN AN Emergency… or when a crime is taking place, call 000. If a crime has already happened, call 131 444. For anonymous reporting call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. They appreciate any small piece of information you are able to supply about a crime.
NNNW – Your connection to a safer community