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Keeping an eye on your neighbour's property

Most Australians live in what we might describe as, say, the typical house environment which is a three-four bedroom home situated on a quarter acre or slightly smaller block of land which usually has houses either side; unless you are on a corner block or have some other form of land use beside you, such as a vacant block. It is important that we do our very best to keep our homes and our loved ones as safe as possible in these changing times where more and more people are using house break-ins as a way of gaining funds to perhaps support an addiction. This is an unfortunate but a very real fact of life in Australia and nowhere is exempt: even small country towns now have this influential negative effect coming into their somewhat quieter lifestyles compared to the city neighbours.

In the past it has probably been a situation where neighbours would see much more of each other, given the fact that possibly only one person in the household was working and the other person was perhaps a stay-at-home parent looking after the children and all the activities pertaining to that. As times have changed, homes have become more automated and less physical labour is needed, and also because of rising house prices it has become necessary for most homes to have two incomes to support their mortgage. This has left many homes completely vacant throughout the day and in the case of shift workers sometimes also at night.

Neighbourhood Watch was a New South Wales initiative that was followed by other states. It was administered by the New South Wales police department and had some extremely good functions and features to it. Fundamentally it was neighbours watching neighbours to notice any unusual behaviour and they were encouraged to report to the police. This, in recent years, has been in somewhat of a demise, and subsequently a rise in break-and-enter statistics has occurred. One of the recommendations that was part of Neighbourhood Watch was to record all serial numbers of any valuable electrical items as well as to record any additional serial numbers of other valuable goods within the home. Engraving actual names and addresses was recommended as well during this period and still is a very good idea. Engraving tools is not that expensive and leaves a permanent mark on most household items that would be able to be recognised if at some point they were recovered by the police.

We lead busy lives and we have become less close to our immediate neighbours. It is more now a trend of modern society to not even know your neighbours due to this hectic life we now lead. This is a little sad; however, a fact of life. Having said that, it is still probably more important now than it was at any time in our history that we try our best to keep an eye out for strange behaviour of any description in our neighbour’s vicinity. During our daily lives if we do happen to see something that is obviously not normal or could be seen as unusual then it is probably our duty to report this. It is always a good idea if possible to meet your neighbours even if only to exchange phone numbers in the event of an emergency or if you notice unusual behaviour so as to be able to contact them.

I think if we were to be contacted by our neighbours even if we were not very close, only to have them report to us some unusual behaviour that may lead to an early intervention in a possible break-in, then I would be sure to assume that we would be very grateful for this. I think, too, your neighbours would be grateful for you to take similar consideration for them.

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