With summer fast approaching, deciding where to go on holiday will be edging up the priority lists of Kiwis everywhere. But before you zip up your travel case, Peter Strong, Area Manager for AMI Insurance in Canterbury, has some advice on how to prevent your home from becoming the destination of choice for burglars.
“The latest police statistics show that, on average, more than 100 homes across New Zealand are broken into each day. Unoccupied homes are a prime target for burglars who look for tell-tale signs like an overflowing letter box or newspaper left lying in the driveway to signal whether anyone is home.
It’s an awful feeling to know that someone has been in your home and rifled through your personal possessions. Quite often, people don’t immediately notice everything that’s been stolen. Losing personal items like jewellery or family heirlooms can be devastating because these are things that can’t be replaced.
While you may have lived in your house for several years and been lucky enough to have never had a break-in, that doesn’t mean you should be complacent about security. It may seem obvious, but according to police, a large number of break-ins are preventable by taking basic measures such as locking all your doors and windows.
You can also:
• Give your spare key to a neighbour rather than ‘hiding’ it
• Keep trees and shrubs trimmed; don’t give a potential burglar anywhere to hide
• Lock away tools and ladders – anything that could help someone to break in
• Never leave a note on the door saying you are out
• Get to know your neighbours so suspicious activity in or around your house can be reported to the police. Recording of vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of persons seen can be a big help to the authorities.
• Install cat flaps out of reach of door handles.
As the rebuild of Canterbury continues, extra care should be taken on residential building sites to secure houses under construction. By minimising opportunities for potential criminals you can reduce the risk of burglary on building sites. Builders and project managers should be vigilant in managing their building site, particularly when a house under construction is not yet in a lockable state.
Building materials and tools are particularly vulnerable if left in plain view on an unsecured building site. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a break-in, it can help your claim if you can provide your insurer with information about the stolen items; for example, proof of purchase such as a receipt, model numbers or photographs. In particular, if you are purchasing electronic good, it pays to keep documentation not only for warranty purposes, but as evidence of purchase.”
Area Manager for AMI Insurance, Canterbury
Peter has more than 40 years’ experience in insurance having held a number of operational roles within AMI before he was made Area Manager of its Canterbury branch 15 years ago. Peter has lived in Christchurch for 35 years.
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