ARARAT - Victoria Police are urging people in the Ararat and Stawell areas to be vigilant when it comes to home security.
Crime prevention officer Leading Senior Constable Eddy MacDonald said regardless of where we live, or how much or little we have, it's ours and in one way or another we have worked hard to get it.
"Invasion of our homes and properties makes us feel very vulnerable. Theft of our personal valuables impacts on us even more so," he said.
"There are a number of things we can do to avoid becoming a victim of a burglary, one of them is to think like a thief and check for weak spots in our homes."
LSC MacDonald said better security of homes should start with our habits:
Unlocked doors and windows are the most usual methods of entry. Keep your windows and doors locked and teach your children and visitors to do the same, if you must leave a window ajar make sure it is locked when you leave that room.
Cut dowels to sit in the track behind sliding windows and doors. Keep in mind that thieves will walk around your home to find a way in; your back door and side windows should be just as secure as the front of the home. Ensure window mounted air conditioners are securely screwed to the window frame.
Deadlocks are worthwhile only if used correctly, doors should not be deadlocked when you are inside your home to allow for ease of escape in an emergency, when home and feel you must lock it, leave the key in the deadlock.
Never leave keys outside the home, thieves will look for your keys to save forcing entry. Leave spare keys with a neighbour or hide them well away from the home, when getting them though, remember that someone may be watching. Don't have your house keys with your car keys and never put your address on key rings, put a contact phone number.
LSC MacDonald said many burglaries occur during daylight because thieves know that people are out during the day.
He said people should get into the habit of locking and securing their home and garage before leaving.
Think about putting window coverings on windows that have none, clear mail boxes regularly, which should be locked, install a security door viewer to front doors, as thieves will ring the door bell or knock to see if anyone is home and make sure emptied wheelie rubbish bins are brought in and bring in neighbours' bins if they are away.
"During the day close the garage door, don't advertise what you have, remember, someone may be looking. Never mention on social media when you will be away, sharing your holiday plans with friends and family is also providing information to thieves," LSC MacDonald said.
"Think first before throwing receipts or any personal account details in the bin, rip them up or shred them to avoid identity theft.
"Don't leave tools lying around that can be used by thieves to jemmy windows or doors, even ladders should be locked away. Trim any high bushes around the home where a thief can hide, particularly around doors and windows. Thieves will hide behind fences that prevent visibility from the street.
"Close your curtains at night. Motion activated lighting is a cost effective method of providing night time visibility.
"If you have personal valuables in your home don't think that you are 'hiding' them in the bedroom, this is the first place thieves look. Find somewhere else that is secure and less obvious, or simply do not keep cash or jewellery in your home. Take photographs of your jewellery. Home safes are ideal but make sure they are hidden and securely fixed to the floor or wall. Engravers are inexpensive yet effective. Engrave large items with yours or a family member's driver's licence number, prefixed with the initial of the State it was issued. Record the serial, make and model numbers of all items of value, including the IMEI number of mobile phones."
LSC MacDonald said there are inexpensive security alarms and cameras on the market, consider investing in one, and put signs up that the home is monitored. Smaller companion dogs are very effective as intruder and visitor warning devices.
Stolen property can sometimes be located through second hand dealers, eBay, the Trading Post and the classifieds. If you locate your stolen property contact police but remember police will be relying on you to legally identify your property.
"Thieves roam the streets looking for easy homes to get into, once they find an area they may return and word gets out amongst other thieves," LSC MacDonald said.
"We all have the responsibility to make our neighbourhoods safe. Make your home safe and secure to avoid being a victim."
If you see something suspicious contact your local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. In an emergency dial 000.
For further information on crime prevention visit www.police.vic.gov.au or if you are seeking advice on residential security contact Western Region Division 4 crime prevention officer Eddy MacDonald on 53551500 at the Ararat Police Station.