There were 17,254 reported home thefts in NSW in the year to September 2020 which was lower than last year (18,898) likely due to the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures in March to contain COVID-19.

Personal items such as handbags, jewellery and clothing were the most popular items stolen by thieves, accounting for 26 per cent of property stolen from homes in 2018-19, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows. Tools accounted for 19 per cent of items stolen followed by money at 18 per cent.

The former president of the defunct Neighbourhood Watch Group of Pennant Hills, Christine Scenna, said the group was once responsible for creating community awareness about home security and personal safety.

“It was just to alert the community to look out for each other, keep the suburb safe and the idea that if we’re all looking out for each other that we can deter thieves and make the place safer for everybody,” Ms Scenna said.

Ms Scenna championed the installation of neighbourhood watch signs in her area which she said proved to be “effective in deterring criminals.”

The group folded in 2016 due to waning membership numbers, but Ms Scenna said she had been alerted by neighbours to burglaries in her area.

“[Thieves] were actually in and out of houses really quickly and stealing things,” Ms Scenna said. “The lady that I was friends with down the street lost jewellery.”

NRMA Insurance’s executive general manager of claims, Luke Gallagher, suggests Australians should remember to lock up before leaving home, even if it’s to buy toilet paper, this holiday season.

“Whether you’re heading on holiday or just going for a walk around the corner, remember simple habits like locking your doors and your windows helps protect your home and your valued possessions,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We hear some unlucky stories from customers when they’ve just ducked down to the shops for five minutes, but it was enough time for someone to break in and steal a TV, a bike and in some cases house plants.”

You don’t need to set booby traps around your home to prevent thieves from stealing your things. Here are some simple ways you can help keep your home safe:

  • Secure your home by installing locks, alarm systems and motion-activated sensor lights.
  • Keep valuables such as cash, jewellery, electronics such as laptops and phones, and car keys out of sight.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, ask a neighbour, family or friend to regularly check your house.

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