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Spate Of Local Break-Ins A Timely Reminder To Tighten Security

By Angela Faherty on March 7, 2014 in News

Picture: Matthew Webster

Picture: Matthew Webster

Residents of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are being reminded to make sure they secure their properties and safeguard their belongings following a busy summer period that saw a number of daytime break and enter thefts in and around the city’s beachside suburbs.

In one recent attack, Bondi resident Tanner Chaiken’s apartment on Old South Head Road was broken into between 2pm and 3.30pm on Saturday, January 25 while he and his girlfriend were out enjoying the Australia Day long weekend. The thieves cut through a flyscreen and broke a window to gain access to the property, before making away with a small amount of jewellery and some American dollars.

“It was pretty brazen,” Mr. Chaiken said. “It was right in the middle of the day, in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon. Anyone could have come out of the building and walked past, but I guess if you are determined, that doesn’t matter.”

Mr. Chaiken said the apartment is on the ground level at the walkway entrance of a busy road, making it very vulnerable to opportunists walking past. However, he said that since the break in he has become aware of more incidents in the area, including another break in locally on that same Saturday.

“Since this has happened I have been talking to different people about it and it seems there is quite a lot of it is going on in this area.

“It is a busy area and a lot of these buildings don’t have cameras, an alarm system or bars, and I guess if there are people walking by that want quick money and they see somebody leave, it provides an opportunity,” he said.

Despite reporting the incident to the police, it is unlikely the thieves will be found and the stolen items recovered as residential break and enter is a very difficult crime to prosecute. Figures from the NSW Attorney General & Justice Department show that only 15 per cent of total reported incidents eventually make it to court, and of the people charged, only 57 per cent are found guilty.

The figures act as a stark warning to local residents to be more proactive in safeguarding their homes and belongings. Official police figures show Australia has the second highest rate of residential break and enter in the world, and although this number has almost halved since 2000, it is still the most common crime reported in New South Wales.

While the summer holiday period is often worse for burglaries as many people spend time outdoors or overseas, the NSW Police Force has said its ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ message reinforcing the need for home security during the height of the summer season should apply all year round. It added that residents should be aware that thieves are most likely to strike when someone is away from the home and they often target young people, renters and unit dwellers.

As part of its bid to ramp up awareness on home security, the NSW Police Force’s ‘Home Safe’ agenda, details of which can be found on the NSW Police website, highlights practical tips for safeguarding your home. Given the most common entry point for a burglar is through a front door or an open window, it stresses the need for ensuring these entry points have working locks that are regularly used in order to help prevent burglaries. Other measures include security lighting and home alarm systems, as well as engraving or marking belongings with a traceable number such as a driver’s license number using an ultra-violet pen.

“This procedure causes no harm to the item and is only visible using an ultra-violet light. However, invisible markings fade over time and need to be renewed. Many councils or local police stations will assist with this activity,” a NSW Police Force spokesperson said.

Both Randwick and Waverley Council said concerned residents should seek advice from the police on home security and safety, while Chaiken questioned whether a greater police street presence in the area might help deter future break ins.