Editorial: Avoid becoming a holiday statistic

By Andrew Bonallack

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Avoid becoming a statistic this holiday - don't advertise to burglars that you have gone away.
Avoid becoming a statistic this holiday - don't advertise to burglars that you have gone away.

Okay, Christmas, that happened. Now it's time to weather the risk of leaving your family home and do your best not to become part of the summer road toll, and hope your house and belongings don't become another burglary statistic.

That's an awful thing to say, but whenever I get behind the wheel of a car I always tell myself: It took me a long time to find the woman of my dreams and it would be dumb to stuff it up now. Plus there's the factor that it is a lot of fun being the editor of a daily paper. I'm proud of it. There are highs and lows, but the last thing I want is to find myself a subject of one of our crash stories.

But as well as driving safely, the concept of burglars while the family is away is unpleasant, and this brings rise to the idea of people publicly notifying their absence on line. It's a slightly lateral shift to talk about the family whose dead grandfather's house was burgled after they posted the sale of his worldly goods on a Facebook site.

True, the burglary might not have been because of the posting. The man lived in Featherston; it could have been some low person with opportunity and local knowledge.

But I'd be willing to bet the posting on Wairarapa's buy sell and swap sparked an opportunity. In the days before online posting you let your neighbours know you were on holiday.

You asked them to park their cars in your drive. You left a pair of old boots at the front door. These are all sensible things which stand the test of time.

You don't need to post a big notice on Facebook saying: I'm going to be away for two weeks in Mahia, Happy New Year everyone.

If you are a neighbour still at home, don't hesitate to call the police if something doesn't feel right to you. Often, burglaries can happen in broad daylight, with nondescript vans parked in driveways. The police would rather receive a call and check things out, than deal with the aftermath of a home being cleaned out.

And the other classic: Avoid putting out lots of packaging as visible rubbish after Christmas. It's a great way to advertise to burglars you've just been given an iPad or a mountain bike.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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