How comfortable do you feel leaving your home unattended when you go on holidays? Turns out that those who know their neighbours best have more peace of mind.
Remember The Wet Bandits from Home Alone?
It was their modus operandi to case out families going on holidays before robbing their homes over Christmas.
When you consider that insurer QBE sees up to 15% more theft claims over the summer holiday period than any other time of year, it was a pretty clever little plotline.
But, it turns out that you don't have to leave your eight-year-old kid home alone to fend off the hapless crooks.
It's much simpler (and safer) to get to know your neighbour - which is something Australians have been doing a lot better this year thanks to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
More than 80% of Australians spent more time at home during 2020 than ever before, and QBE's research reveals this may have helped us all become better neighbours.
In fact, one in three Australians claim they know their neighbours better now than in previous years, and 61% say they'd like an even better relationship with their neighbour, especially if it could improve their home security.
It's not surprising then, that three in four Australians say they feel more comfortable going on holidays if they know their neighbours are keeping an eye on things.
Indeed, 71% of neighbours interviewed claim they'd record a vehicle number plate, 60% would call the police, 47% would give their neighbours a call, and (a very bold) 28% would even approach the suspicious party.
How to prepare ahead of your summer trip
With state borders starting to reopen and interstate travel resuming, it's important to take relevant safety precautions to protect your household belongings this holiday season.
"If you're not in the habit of letting your neighbours know when you go away, now would be a great time to start," says QBE's chief customer officer, personal lines, Eleanor Debelle.
"Aside from increasing the security of your home, it may also strengthen the relationship you've built during 2020."
Here are QBE's top five tips to secure your home these holidays
1. Ask a neighbour to check on your property, collect the mail, mow your lawn, or put away bins.
2. Walk around your property and check doors, windows and locks.
3. Make sure valuables are out of sight or given to a trusted person to look after. The most common items stolen include jewellery, bags, laptops, phones, rings, keys and tools.
4. Set a burglar alarm.
5. Set timer switches for lighting.
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