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Out of lockdown travellers urged to lock-up homes

3 min read
13 Dec 2021

Out of lockdown travellers urged to lock-up homes

As holidaymakers pack their bags for the first time in months, insurance experts from Compare the Market have warned the festive season is no time to be complacent about home security.

The comparator surveyed 1,500 Australians on home security and found 42% had taken steps to protect their home by installing alarms (21%), cameras (11%) or both (10%).

But not everyone is in the habit of locking up. A quarter of respondents said they occasionally (23%) or always (2%) left windows open while their house was unattended. A small minority said they occasionally (7%) or always (1%) left their doors unlocked upon leaving the house.

While the majority of homeowners (73%) said they never left house keys outside their home, the remaining 27% admitted to hiding keys inside flowerpots, fuse boxes, mailboxes, under door mats or rocks and even in shoes or dog houses.

Compare the Market general insurance expert Stephen Zeller urged families to be vigilant, as the country reopens and spend more time away from home over Christmas.

“After another year of pandemic chaos, we’re all keen to get out of the house and spend some time away from home over the Summer,” Mr Zeller said.

“Improved home surveillance was a small silver lining to lockdown, as home workers helped deter opportunistic thieves.

“But we’ve already seen crime rates bounce back in Brisbane, where 929 unlawful entry offences were reported last month.

Data table: Unlawful entry offences in Brisbane

Month20172018201920202021
January81393910001160889
February7968397691295743
March7918598531221819
April828785798806774
May893830876689931
June750780917597854
July730729946508777
August808897952801723
September791767926842852
October8548171002904929
November766900985864N/A
December894920996906N/A

Source: Queensland Police Service Queensland Crime Statistics dashboard, accessed 19 November 2021. Results for the following criteria: “Brisbane” and “unlawful entry offences”.

“While the victims of crime are never to blame, it’s important we do all we can to prevent break-ins by keeping our homes secure.”

Figures from the Queensland Police Service show unlawful entry offences were on the rise in 2019 before numbers tumbled during the first lockdown of 2020.

But thefts were quick to return to normal levels after restrictions lifted. Case numbers have continued to rise since Brisbane’s last snap lockdown in August.

Mr Zeller said anyone planning an extended holiday should check their insurance policy for an important exclusion.

“Most people won’t be aware that leaving your home unattended for more than 60 days can void your policy, depending on the insurer and the terms you’ve agreed to,” he said.

“It’s always a good idea to review your policy and make sure your cover is up to date, including any valuables you’ve acquired in the past year.

“And if you can, ask a friend or family member to check in on your property, as empty houses with missing cars and overgrown lawns will inevitably be more attractive to thieves. The message is to make sure your doors are locked up, now we’re out of lockdown.”

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avatar of author: Sarah Orr

Written by Sarah Orr

Sarah is an avid storyteller, passionate about improving financial literacy and helping Australians make informed choices with their money. Outside the newsroom, she enjoys cycling around Brisbane and snapping scenery on her camera.

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