THE Newcastle local government area has the dubious honour of having the third worst break and enter figures in NSW.
With cunning thieves raiding more than 10 homes across the Hunter every day, police have urged home owners to upgrade their security alarm systems, to avoid self-policing and to use common sense before heading off on Christmas holidays.
‘‘People don’t realise they are just up and going from the most valuable asset they own,’’ Crime Stoppers director Peter Price said yesterday.
‘‘You need to be smarter.’’
Mr Price said home owners should invest in alarms connected to security companies as well as timer lights to make it appear someone is home.
He warned against the growing trend of residents setting up their own cameras and security patrols, using smart phone apps to keep an eye on their homes when they are out.
‘‘Who are you going to send through the door when you find someone in your home – family, friends, a neighbour,’’ Mr Price said.
‘‘Do you really want them confronting burglars. Leave it to the professionals.’’
There were also some other handy hints in the lead-up to Christmas.
These included having the mail collected and breaking down boxes which had held valuable presents.
‘‘When you put a big box on the street it is admitting the fact you have a brand new LCD television inside,’’ Mr Price said.
Mount Hutton resident Kim Barrie was out with her daughter last Sunday when thieves decided to climb through a window and rummage through their belongings.
They left with jewellery belonging to her and her 13-year-old daughter, Krista, and other personal items.
‘‘They have sentimental value, they have no significant value to them,’’ Ms Barrie said.
‘‘We have a lot of oldies around here and I would hate to have someone walk in to their place while they are having an afternoon nap, anything could happen.’’
Figures compiled by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show Newcastle recorded 1347 home burglaries last year, putting the local government area third in the state behind Blacktown and Campbelltown in the western outskirts of Sydney.
Lake Macquarie recorded the second highest number of burglaries in the region last year, with 970 while Port Stephens was third, with 490.