Protect your home these holidays

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A burglary occurs in Australia every three minutes and the end-of-year holiday period is peak season. The best way to protect your home against burglary is to know how burglars think.

Edith Cowan University Criminology and Psychology researcher, Dr Natalie Gately, spoke to 120 active adult and juvenile burglars, who gave her the low-down on their tricks of the trade. The five key observations for vigilant householders to keep in mind are: burglars are opportunistic; most burglaries are quick affairs and that’s how burglars like it; dogs frighten them; easy targets appeal; and they’re not easily fooled.

Burglaries cost the country around $1.6 billion each year; however, the emotional cost is impossible to measure.

“Research has shown that intrusion into a person’s private space causes significant psychological trauma in around 20% of cases,” Dr Gately said. “It pays to know how a burglar thinks so that people can hopefully prevent their homes from becoming targets.”

According to Dr Gately, some burglars may not be planning a burglary: “They may just pass a house and see something that’s easy and available for them to get, while others may be trawling the area looking for a suitable house to burgle.”

Dr Gately’s research found the biggest deterrent for burglary is a dog, followed by alarms and security doors and windows.

She said two-thirds of active burglars reported entering homes through open doors and windows, prompting a reminder to “always remember to lock up and get to know your neighbours”.

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