An article in the Courier Mail published earlier this year indicated that police were struggling to cope with the 450 break-ins occurring across Queensland each week. With more than 10,000 burglary-related crimes reported in Brisbane last year, it’s clear that criminals are trying every trick in the book to get their sticky fingers on valuable items. With scary statistics like these, it’s more important than ever before to stay alert and protect your home as much as possible against their dirty tricks.
Book of tricks
Davcon Security Screens, a leading supplier of Crimsafe products to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and New South Wales, scouted out some of the most common tricks used by crafty criminals to gain entry into your home, as well as tips to help you prevent them:
Trick#1: Locate a prime opening
Many criminals break and enter through doors, either with a key, by picking a lock or by force. Generally, they will evaluate entry points and choose the most vulnerable entrance to target. Often, they will kick the door at its weakest point, which on a standard wooden door is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the lock in place. Locks are usually secured by soft wood and break easily upon impact. Many flyscreens are easy to break because the mesh can be cut and widened, allowing enough space for a crafty criminal to climb through.
Experts suggest professionally-installed and high-quality kick-resistant door mechanisms, such as those on Crimsafe products. Crimsafe’s security screen doors and windows can withstand most attempts at cutting, kicking or breaking-in. This is because patented Screw-ClampTM technology firmly clamps Crimsafe’s shear-resistant Tensile Tuff® mesh to the frame, so that when hit by an impact such as a kick, the load is spread around the whole frame and projected back into the structure of the building. Also remember that it’s best to stash spare keys with friends, family or neighbours you can trust. Avoid hiding spare keys in a shoe or under a flower pot – the crims have caught on!
Trick#2: Window shopping
Criminals will try to wriggle through unlocked or open windows, especially in darker, more obscure parts of properties. First-floor windows are the most obvious risk, but trees, tables and makeshift ladders mean no unlocked window is ever safe.
Crimsafe’s range of security windows offers ultimate safety, protection and visibility. Davcon Security Screens customises all Crimsafe security windows according to your home’s measurements and your particular security requirements. Crimsafe’s Safe-S-Capes are emergency exits that are just as strong as all other Crimsafe products. In a report on sneak breaks released by the Queensland Police Service, Acting Inspector Anthony Graham of Patrol Services in the North Brisbane Police District, says that criminals are looking for easy access into houses and apartments, using wheelie bins and ladders from nearby garages or climbing onto verandahs to gain entry to unlocked and open windows. Store ladders and wheelie bins securely under the house or chained to fences away from windows.
Trick#3: Locate the ideal target
Thieves aren’t going to bother with targets that won’t allow them to get in and out, undetected, with stolen goodies in hand. Ideal targets are homes with indications that no one is around. Piles of unopened mail, rolled-up newspapers and darkness are signs of an inactive home. Also, thieves will attempt to target homes that appear to contain lots of nice, expensive things.
Hide your valuables, especially if you’re going on holiday. The QPS sneak break report also suggests you place the most targeted and easy to remove items, such as cash, wallets, laptops and mobile phones, in cupboards and drawers. Leave your lights on timers and redirect your home phone to your mobile to trick the crims into thinking you are in fact at home. It’s always advisable to opt for high-quality security products such as Crimsafe screens, so even if your empty home is a target, criminals are not likely to gain entry.
Trick#4: Be inconspicuous
Thieves who break and enter generally try to avoid confrontation, to ensure they get in and out with their newly-acquired items secured in their sticky hands. Homes with clear signs of alarm systems and dogs aren’t ideal targets and criminals will generally move on to a house that doesn’t appear as threatening.
Motion-sensor lights effectively startle criminals who may be lurking in the shadows or clinging to trees. Install an alarm system if you believe your home is a target and place the alarm company’s signage clearly outside your home. If you have a dog, encourage it to bark at strange noises. If you’re not a dog person, many swear by the electronic barking dog alarm.
Trick#5: Seize the day
Many reports of recent crime patterns indicate that more and more break-ins are happening during the day, sometimes while homeowners are at work or school and sometimes while they are at home.
Always be alert and aware of anything suspicious around your neighbourhood. Keep your security doors and windows locked up, even while you’re at home, to maximise your security.
Trick#6: Hide and don’t get caught
Even with the brightest of lights, thick shrubbery offers the perfect hiding spot for criminals. Often, they’ll wait in bushy areas until windows and doors become accessible or people are spotted leaving the house or office.
Keep shrubs trimmed. Install bright exterior lighting to ensure good visibility of your entire property. Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Trick#7: Suspicious visitors
Criminals may approach your home posing as someone you may naturally let into your home – a utility employee, a representative from a moving company, a friend of a friend or even a police official. They may send an accomplice to distract you while scoping out your property to assess possible entry points. Some criminals break into tool sheds to find gear with which to break into homes. Efficient criminals try new tricks all the time to stay ahead of the authorities who may be trying to catch them. In the Courier Mail article on burgeoning Queensland crime, Detective Senior Constable Glen Skugor stated that criminals are becoming quite savvy and are becoming increasingly harder to catch because they “know about forensics, talk to each other and swap ideas”.
Don’t open doors to strangers – rather identify them securely behind your Crimsafe door, screen or window. If someone knocks, ask for identification and then call the relevant company or agency to verify that the visit is official. If you aren’t expecting someone, don’t let them in. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye out for any suspicious activities on your property.
Protect Your Home
While it’s not possible for most people to keep up with the ways criminals target and break into homes, it is possible to have a trusted security expert inspect your property regularly to secure any vulnerabilities. Ask one of Davcon’s security specialists to examine your property and provide you with a Crimsafe quote.