When the mercury rises, it seems the theft rate does too. Holiday season is a busy time for thieves, with the Herald Sun revealing that every seven and a half minutes in January a home is burgled or a car stolen in Victoria. This annual spike has prompted Victoria Police to warn the community to be on its guard this month, with residential burglaries having jumped 14.9% (2603 offences) and car break-ins increasing almost 10% (3358 offences) last January 2013.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said the community can become complacent over the holiday period and opportunistic criminals strike like “bees to honey”.
“A lot of people take time off over the Christmas and New Year period, take holidays before the children go back to school, so they are a little bit more relaxed and probably a bit complacent,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Fryer said.
“What is absolutely clear is burglars almost always do not know what house they are going to go and burgle. They will drive around a suburb looking for opportunity – they’ll go to an area and look for a vulnerability; an open window, clear sings of lack of occupancy or even as simple as overgrown shrubbery at the front that provides them with some protection to climb through windows.
“Burglars are not over sophisticated, they’re opportunistic so we are asking the public not to make it easy for them, be vigilant and on their guard.”
“There are very simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of becoming a victim,” he said.
Victoria Police said theft from a motor vehicle also spiked at this time of year with cars left unlocked and post-Christmas sale shopping left in the open.
“They leave cars unlocked because they’re on the driveway and they think they’re safe,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Fryer said.
“Villains walk up driveways to check for unlocked car doors, especially in the suburbs. We are finding a lot of people are leaving doors unlocked.
“And don’t leave your shopping, or music devices and phones, in full view – it’s common sense,” he added, stressing thieves will break into a car for just a couple of dollars in sight.
Police will be increasing uniformed and undercover patrols but urged the community to not drop its guard.