Police issue warning to vacationers

POLICE have urged resident to lock up their homes when  heading away on holidays after hundreds of burglaries in the Ballarat area. 

The latest Victoria Police statistics show there were 708 residential burglaries committed in the Ballarat police service area between October 2011 and September 2012.

Ballarat Police Sergeant Paul Fitzgerald yesterday encouraged  residents to let police know if they were heading away this holiday period.

Available at the Dana Street police station, the “absence from home register” is a way for residents to let police know their departure time, who has their spare key and their estimated time back home.

The information allows police to make patrols past homes known to be vacant and also assists in contacting homeowners in emergency circumstances.

Sergeant Fitzgerald said the absence from home register was a great way to achieve piece of mind for home owners.

“We definitely encourage people to come in and fill out their details,” he said.

“If you’re heading away, let us know your departure time, your arrival date and any emergency contact details.”

December is also listed as “Holiday Safety Month” according to Ballarat Neighbourhood Watch.

Yesterday, a Victoria Police spokesperson told The Courier there were a number of tips and initiatives people could use to avoid joining those victims as statistics.

“Consider automatic timing devices for lights and turn the volume down on phones and answering machines,” they said.

“Leave blinds and curtains as you normally would if at home...to make your house more secure, trim foliage around the garden to remove potential hiding places. Keep garden tools locked away, clear you mail box daily and lock the garage.”

“Before going on holidays ensure that all doors and windows are locked and check that security lighting is working.”

Police also recommend to cancel newspaper deliveries and ensure bikes, toys and garden tools are locked away.

“Keep washing on the line for a lived in appearance,” the spokesperson said.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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