Your security installation questions answered

Our homes and business premises are always possible targets for thieves – so we’ve got some tips to keep residential and commercial buildings secure.

In this Article:
Two experts on building security answer questions on how best to secure your premises
Protect your home and business from break and enter
Find out why almost half of Australian homes now have security cameras or alarms


General Manager Marketing & Comms, Compare the Market


CEO of NHN Group

How much of a problem is residential and commercial property crime in Australia?

Hundreds of thousands of Australian households experience a break-in every year, so we shouldn’t become complacent when it comes to home security. While the latest figures from the ABS show that break-ins have decreased by 29% in the last 12 months, 113,000 households still had something stolen and 79,600 had property damaged. It’s a real concern.

Residential and commercial property crime is one of the most common crimes experienced in Australia, with over 40,000 reports made to NSW Police each year. Break and enter is an offence that is a significant problem for households and businesses, and results in substantial costs to both the community and the Government.

What are some of the most common ways to break into buildings, and what are thieves after?

Many of us worked from home during COVID-19 lockdowns, but as we return to the office and start traveling again, it’s important that we don’t let our security standards drop. Commonly stolen items include jewellery and clothing, sporting equipment and bicycles and money, wallets or purses. However, nothing is off limits to thieves.

Most petty thieves are opportunistic and will look for easy ways, like doors or windows left open, ajar, or unlocked. If thieves need to break in, they will look to do this with minimal to no noise or fuss, so a floor-level window or door that is not easily seen or is out of the way of regular foot traffic is ideal.

What sort of preventative measures are most popular from a technology perspective?

Our latest data shows that there’s actually been a 3% increase in homes with cameras compared to the same time last year, as technology evolves. In fact, 42.6% of Australians have alarms or cameras installed at home. Of those, 16.4% of homes say they have alarms installed, 13.8% say they have cameras and 12.4% say they have both alarms and cameras in place.

External CCTV and an alarm system with back-to-base monitoring are the most popular. Systems easily installed and controlled from a smartphone are very popular also and most allow for two-way audio communication as well as video.
What practical things can people do to minimise risks?

If you do have an alarm, add generic security signs or stickers to warn thieves that a loud, alarmed security system may go off if they enter. In addition to the usual lock and key, consider barrel bolts, chain locks, deadbolts and smart locks. And be aware that anything you post on social media when you’re not home could be inviting thieves into your home.

Have an overt sign displayed saying there is an alarm active. This is not a failsafe, as opportunistic thieves may factor the alarm going off and being able to ‘get in and get out’ with what they intend to steal before security or police arrive, but it does make premises less appealing. Ensure doors and windows that are not used regularly are secure or locked.

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone who has commercial or residential property from a security perspective? When searching for a contents insurance provider, always list any security measures you have in place, as some insurers may be able to offer you a lower premium. Insurers may also deny claims if you haven’t taken reasonable measures to protect your property, so always keep this in mind.

Have a set, consistent process for people to follow and document it if necessary. Have visual prompts/ reminders, e.g. a sign on the inside of the main door saying ‘Please lock the door’ or ‘Have you set the alarm’.

Need some new security products? Find your local Gemcell Member branch

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