Eight in ten (82%) Australians say they’d be more comfortable going away on holiday if they knew their neighbours better, according to new research by QBE Insurance Australia.
The findings come on the eve of the summer holidays, historically a peak time for home break-ins1.
Home security is an issue for 84% of Australians who say they worry about the safety of their home when they’re away, according to a survey of 1,027 people aged 25-642.
Most Australians (59%) do not have neighbours they consider friends, with one in five (18%) saying they don’t talk to their neighbours and more than one in ten (13%) saying they don’t know their neighbours at all.
However, it seems Aussies are keen to turn this around with most (65%) saying they’d like to have a better relationship with their neighbours in order to improve home security – a move that would likely pay off, with nearly nine in ten (87%) saying they’d go the extra mile to protect the property of a neighbour they know well.
QBE Insurance Australia national home and contents portfolio manager Grant Pearce said: “This research shows neighbours can play an integral part of the home security mix. Almost everyone (98%) said they’d take action to keep their neighbours’ property safe, yet just over half bother to ask them to keep an eye out (62%) or collect the mail or newspapers (60%).
“It’s clear there’s a benefit to reaching out to people who live nearby in order to increase a neighbourhood’s sense of community and security as the research shows they’re more than likely to be willing to help.
“Home security is always important, but never more so than when you’re away on holiday. We’ve all heard the stories of a long-awaited summer holiday that turned into a nightmare because of a traumatic burglary at home while residents were away.
“This research is reassuring though, because it shows Australians are already security conscious when it comes to their homes.
“As an insurer, our advice is that being proactive about home security is the best form of defence.”
The research shows nearly three quarters of Australians (73%) would take down the vehicle licence plate of someone they saw acting suspiciously outside a neighbour’s home, while 69% would call the police and half would contact the neighbour directly. Almost one in three brave Australians (29%) would approach the person acting suspiciously directly to ask what they’re up to.
Home security measures are front of mind for Australians planning summer holidays with checking doors and windows are locked the most popular pre-break activity. Asking neighbours and friends to keep an eye on the property and arranging for mail and newspapers to be collected while they’re away makes up the remainder of the top three pre-holiday security measures.
Going on holiday can be a useful trigger for residents to do their own security audit, Pearce said. “It can be as simple as taking the time to walk around your home to check doors, windows and locks.
“Think about how your home looks and ask yourself whether there is anything on show that could entice a burglar into your home or garden. If there is, address it immediately.”
Social media can also be a factor in keeping your home safe. The research found 51% of respondents share photos on social media while they’re on holiday.
“Your selfies over sunset cocktails might make your friends jealous, but are also an open invitation to burglars. Our advice is to tread carefully and check privacy settings when it comes to posting holiday snaps or details about upcoming breaks away from home. You never know who could be reading.”
Ingrid Stonhill, CEO Neighbourhood Watch Australasia said: “In our experience, having the neighbours on side directly helps improve the safety of your local area.
“Knowing that someone is watching your property while you are away will give you peace of mind, so why not use the festive season as an excuse to introduce yourself before you travel. We’ve also launched a free app to make connecting with your neighbours even easier.”
Top six security precautions Australians take before going on holiday
- Check doors and windows are locked (81%)
- Ask neighbours and friends to keep an eye on the property (62%)
- Arrange for mail and newspapers to be collected (60%)
- Hide valuables (50%)
- Set the burglar alarm (27%)
- Set timer switches for lighting (25%)
2 Galaxy Research study of 1,027 Australians, aged 25 – 64, completed for QBE Insurance Australia, on 1 December 2016.
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About Neighbourhood Watch Australasia
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia has made it even easier to connect with your neighbours with the launch of their free NHWConnect App. To sign up to an online Neighbourhood Watch Program, and keep in touch with what’s happening in your street while you are away, go to www.NHWConnect.com.au