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					 March 2005

 home security index          

  One in ten Australians   One in five people don’t
  has experienced          warn their neighbours after
  home intrusion           experiencing a burglary
This is the eighth annual AAMI Home Security Index,            • Adelaide/regional           • Coffs Harbour &               •   North Queensland
formerly published as the AAMI Car and Home Security             South Australia                 Port Macquarie              •   Sunshine Coast
Index. It is published to inform and educate the community     • Ballarat, Bendigo &         •   Dubbo                       •   Sydney
about trends in home crime and security. The Index is            Shepparton                  •   Geelong                     •   Toowoomba/
based on data collected from two sources: an independent       • Batemans Bay,               •   Gold Coast                      Darling Downs
survey of more than 2400 Australian adults and an in-depth       Bega & Ulladulla            •   Hobart                      • Wagga Wagga &
analysis of insurance claims lodged in 2004 by AAMI            • Brisbane                    •   Launceston                      Griffith
policyholders in the Australian Capital Territory, New South   • Canberra                                                    • Woollongong & Nowra
                                                                                             •   Melbourne
Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria..
                                                               • Central Queensland          •   Newcastle & Gosford
The survey was conducted in the following areas:

Intruders become                             ACCORDING TO      into. Nationally, of those who have garden     did so, compared with 83 per cent of
more brazen                                  AAMI’S CLAIMS     shed, half (52 per cent) admit it is not as    those aged 35 and older.
                                             STATISTICS        secure as it should be.
One in ten Australians (11 per cent),        FOR 2004,
has personal experience of home              BURGLARIES                                                       Some forget basic security
intrusion – where a thief has broken in      WERE MOST         Neighbours not warned of crime
while they were at home.                     COMMON ON                                                        Despite the knowledge that most theft
                                             FRIDAYS.          One in five people (21 per cent) did not       is opportunistic, some people still forget
Of the people who experienced home                             warn their neighbours that a thief was at      to attend to basic security around
intrusion, half (49 per cent) became                           work in the area after the burglary            their homes.
aware that the intruder was on the                             occurred. People in New South Wales
property. Of those who became aware of                                                                        One-third of Australians (36 per cent)
                                                               were most likely to warn their neighbours
the intruder, 68 per cent confronted                                                                          admitted they had been known to leave
                                                               (88 per cent did so) and Victorians were
them, and in one-quarter of these                                                                             their front or back door open when they
                                                               least likely (69 per cent).
situations (24 per cent), violence ensued.                                                                    probably should not. This was least
                                                               Homeowners were more likely to warn            common in Victoria (31 per cent) and the
                                                               neighbours after a break-in than renters       Australian Capital Territory (25 per cent).
Common times for theft                                         (83 per cent did compared with 63 per          Most of those who had no security
According to AAMI’s claims statistics for                      cent). The likelihood of communicating         features at all in the home, such as
2004, burglaries were most common on                           with neighbours about theft increased          deadlocks, window locks or alarms, left
Fridays (more than 16 per cent) between                        with age – 62 per cent of 18-34-year-olds      their doors open (59 per cent).
the hours of 8 am and 12 pm. The most
common month for burglary was
December, where more than 11 per cent
of all claims were reported.                                      KEY FINDINGS
                                                                  ■   Four in ten Australians (38 per cent) has experienced a break-in at some
                                                                      point in their lives.
Burglary a common experience
                                                                  ■   One in ten Australians (11 per cent) has been burgled while someone
Many Australians (38 per cent) have
                                                                      was at home.
experienced a burglary at some point
in their lives.                                                   ■   Almost half of Australians (44 per cent) do not investigate or call the
                                                                      police when they hear a home alarm.1
People who live in metropolitan areas
were far more likely to experience a                              ■   One in seven Australians (14 per cent) say they have no home or
burglary than people in regional areas                                contents-related insurance to protect their home and possessions.
(43 per cent compared with 29 per                                 ■   One in ten people (10 per cent) do not have any security at all in their
cent in regional areas).                                              home, such as deadlocks, window locks, alarms, security grills or safes.
One in 20 people (5 per cent) who                                 ■   One in 20 Australians (5 per cent) do not take any security measures to
have a garden shed have had it broken                                 protect their home when they go on holiday.2
into. This crime occurred most often in
                                                                  ■   One in five people (21 per cent) don’t warn their neighbours about thieves
South Australia, where ten per cent of
                                                                      in the area after they’ve been burgled.
people said their shed had been broken
One-third of people with deadlocks                                 a break-in when they go on holidays             NINE IN TEN            invested in more sophisticated security
(34 per cent) said these locks were not                            compared with those who have not                PEOPLE (88 PER         measures such as video surveillance,
always activated when they should be. A                            (44 per cent compared with 34 per cent).        CENT) BELIEVE A        card access or security patrols.
similar proportion of those with window                                                                            BARKING DOG IS         Tasmanians were least likely to have this
                                                                   Most Australians (95 per cent) take some
locks (38 per cent) said their locks were                                                                          GOOD DETERRENT         extra security (8 per cent) and people in
                                                                   kind of security precaution when leaving        TO THIEVES.
not always activated when they should                                                                                                     New South Wales were most likely (18
                                                                   their home for an extended period of time.
be. People who have experienced a                                                                                                         per cent). Newer homes were also more
                                                                   Most people (85 per cent) ask a friend or
burglary at their current home were more                                                                                                  likely to have these features – 24 per
                                                                   neighbour to keep an eye on their home or
likely to be vigilant with home security –                                                                                                cent of homes aged less than 10 years
                                                                   collect their mail. Four in ten (41 per cent)
27 per cent who have experienced a                                                                                                        had these and just 11 per cent of homes
                                                                   leave a light on in the house and one-third
burglary at their current home said their                          (33 per cent) leave devices on timers,                                 aged 21 years or more had them.
locks are not always used compared with                            such as a sprinkler or lights. A similar                               Just over half (52 per cent) of people
41 per cent who had not experienced a                              proportion (35 per cent) tries to arrange a                            who do not have any of these
burglary at their current home.                                    house sitter. Three in ten people (28 per                              sophisticated security measures would
Four in ten people with home alarms (42                            cent) activate an alarm system.                                        consider at least one of them if they
per cent) said they sometimes go out                               When asked which of the above measures                                 received a discount on their insurance
without turning on their alarm. This                               were most effective, generally, people felt                            as a result.
number was lower among people who                                  that a human presence was the best
had experienced a burglary at their                                deterrent to thieves. One-third (35 per
current home – of them, one-third (33                              cent) felt that asking someone to keep an
                                                                                                                                          Two in ten not insured
per cent) said they sometimes go out                               eye on their home or collect their mail was
                                                                                                                                          against theft
without turning the alarm on.                                      the most effective deterrent to being                                  Eight in ten (81 per cent) Australians
                                                                   burgled. As popular was arranging a                                    reported that they had contents
                                                                   house sitter (34 per cent).                                            insurance in case of theft from their
Alarms ignored
                                                                                                                                          home. Homeowners are far more likely
Almost half of Australians (44 per cent)                                                                                                  to have home insurance – 92 per cent of
said they do not investigate or call the                           Securing our homes
                                                                                                                                          home owners said they had home
police when they hear a home alarm.                                One in ten Australians (10 per cent) has no                            insurance compared with just 52 per
Just 21 per cent of people believed an                             security features in their home at all. Many                           cent of renters.
alarm was the most effective security                              people, however, had more than one
                                                                                                                                          Fourteen per cent of Australians has no
measure to protect their home when they                            security feature. Seven in ten (71 per cent)
                                                                                                                                          insurance for their belongings.
go away on holidays.                                               had deadlocked external doors, 64 per
                                                                   cent had window locks and 29 per cent
                                                                   had an alarm system. People in regional                                Many keep records
Holiday anxiety                                                    areas were twice as likely not to have any                             of belongings
One-third of Australians (35 per cent) are                         security in their home when compared
apprehensive about going on holidays in                            with those in metropolitan areas.                                      Most people had at least one measure in
case they are burgled while they are                                                                                                      place to assist them in making an
away. Not surprisingly, people who have                                                                                                   insurance claim if their home was burgled.
been burgled at their current address are
                                                                   Incentives for extra security                                          Half (47 per cent) had a list of
more likely to say they are anxious about                          One in seven people (15 per cent) have                                 possessions and their approximate value.

                          Home burglaries per 1000 policies – 2004                                                   How thieves get in

                                                                                                                                                   Window            26%
                                                                                                                                                   Door              39%
          13.96         15.46         11.98         19.41        13.45           11.37       18.93

                                                                                                                                                  No sign of entry   12%
         National    Queensland        NSW           ACT         Victoria        Tasmania    South                                                Garage Door        22%
                                                                                            Australia                                             Other              1%

Source: AAMI Claims data 2004 (no statistics available for Northern Territory)
The impact of home intrusion on victims

Home intrusions receive a lot of            Being a victim of crime affects              bedroom, and this can become a
media attention. Fortunately, they          people in different ways. While              long-term problem.                             VICTIMS OF CRIME
are not common, but when they               every person’s reaction to crime is          The financial burden of home                   SUPPORT SERVICES
do take place they can leave a              unique, it is not unusual for people         intrusion extends beyond the                   A person does not have to
victim feeling devastated and               who have experienced a home                  loss and damage to property.                   suffer a physical injury to be
violated. The crime can destroy a           intrusion to feel shocked, fearful,          Victims sometimes need                         a victim of crime. Injuries can
person’s trust in others and                angry, depressed or anxious.                 therapeutic treatment,                         also be psychological and
blacken their view of the local             Some victims may experience                  counselling, and in extreme                    emotional.
community and society in                    difficulty sleeping; nightmares;             cases, pharmacological                         Support services are
general. Home intrusions fracture           obtrusive mental flashbacks;                 intervention. Some may be                      available to victims in each
the sanctity of the home on a               emotional withdrawal and                     unable to work for a period.                   state and territory, offering
deep level, causing victims to feel         coldness; relationship difficulties;
                                                                                         While the reactions described                  both emotional support and
unsafe and constantly aware of              and anger management problems.
                                                                                         above are a natural and normal                 practical advice about the
danger in their own environment.            Some victims report being
                                                                                         part of the process of dealing with            Justice system.
In many cases, occupants are left           alarmed by any small sound or
                                                                                         a traumatic event, in most cases               Some victims may benefit
with a deep-seated fear that the            vibration in their home.                     they are temporary. With support               from counselling to help them
offender will return.                       Children are particularly                    from family, friends and                       through the recovery process
Victims of home intrusion often             susceptible to the psychological             colleagues, most people recover                and staff can assist victims in
describe the trauma of being                effects of home intrusion. Many              from the effects of crime within a             contacting the most
powerless, and feeling vulnerable           children develop a phobia of being           few months. For other people, the              appropriate support agency
and frightened that they will be            in a room alone. Children who                recovery process is more difficult.            to meet their needs.
injured or killed. For some, the            were previously confident and                Prepared by the Victims Support                 New South Wales
worst aspect is the uncertainty             outgoing can become insecure                 Agency, part of the Victorian                   Victims Support Line
of the crime — not knowing how              and clingy. Some children are only           State Government’s Department                   1800 633063
far the offender will go.                   able to sleep in their parents’              of Justice.                                     Victoria
                                                                                                                                         Victims of Crime Helpline
                                                                                                                                         1800 819817
                                                                                                                                         Victims Counselling and
   TEN TIPS FOR SECURING YOUR HOME AND BELONGINGS                                                                                        Support Service
                                                                                                                                         1300 139703
   1. Remember the basics – it’s no good installing              6. Don’t leave doors or windows wide open for
                                                                                                                                         South Australia
      locks and then not using them.                                long periods even while you’re at home.
                                                                                                                                         Victim Support Service
   2. Make sure everyone in your home is equally                 7. Don’t leave car keys and wallets beside open                         1800 182368
      security conscious. Have a routine that                       windows or doors.                                                    Tasmania
      everyone follows to check locks and switch on              8. Engage deadlocks when you leave the house                            Victims of Crime Support
      alarms when the house is left unoccupied.                     so that thieves cannot carry items out through                       1300 300238
   3. Tell your neighbours if your home is broken into              your main doors.                                                     ACT
      – then they can remember to be extra careful               9. If you can’t arrange for someone to pick up                          Victim Services Scheme
      and report any suspicious people to police.                   your mail every day when you’re on holiday,                          1800 822 272
   4. Don’t assume balcony doors or high windows                    ask the post office to hold it until you return.                     Western Australia
                                                                                                                                         Victim Support Service
      are safe to leave unlocked – thieves are good                 Also, attach a ‘no advertising material’ sign to
                                                                                                                                         08 9425 2850
      at finding ways to overcome these obstacles.                  your letterbox so it doesn’t overflow.
                                                                                                                                         Northern Territory
   5. Pack easy-to-carry, expensive items such as                10. Lock up your meter box to prevent thieves                           Victims of Crime NT
      laptops, iPods and jewellery away and out of                   tampering with your power supply.                                   (previously VOCAL)
      sight so thieves can’t see them.                                                                                                   1800 672242

The AAMI Home Security Index is prepared with the         statistically valid sample* of 2400 Australian adults in   period. Also, smaller or unreported incidents may be
help of a nationally recognised independent research      major population centres and regions across Australia.     captured in AAMI’s research and not by others.
company Sweeney Research, which ensures the               Except where stated, the survey explores respondents’      *The confidence interval for this sample size is plus or minus
validity of the survey methodology and findings. The      experiences of home burglaries over their lifetime.        2 percent, which means that for the survey sample of 2400,
                                                                                                                     if the observed percentage result is 50 per cent, the chances
study is based upon a national telephone survey           AAMI’s research may differ from government and             are 95 in 100 that the range – 48-52 per cent – includes the
conducted in 2005 using a representative and              police sources, which typically examine a 12-month         true percentage for the total Australian population.

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