Don’t let grinch thieves spoil your Christmas

CHRISTMAS was ruined for about five families in the Toowoomba and Warwick region last year when their homes were broken into.

The latest figures from Suncorp Insurance, released on Monday, showed 200 homes in Queensland were the targets of break-ins in the lead-up to the festive season last year.

Of these, five, or about 3%, were in the Darling Downs region.

The majority of break-ins were in Brisbane (42%) and the Gold Coast (21%).

Suncorp spokeswoman Melissa Cronin said figures showed Christmas thieves took advantage of people's full social calendars and empty homes during the holiday period.

She encouraged residents to be vigilant when securing their home and belongings.

Queensland police figures have also shown a spike in the number of stealing from dwelling offences in the past two years.

About 120 more stealing from dwelling offences were recorded for November this year in Queensland than in November last year.

According to the latest data available, about 833 stealing from dwelling offences occurred in Queensland in November this year, the highest in almost two years.

Ms Cronin said having an activated alarm system, putting lights and other appliances on a timer and asking a neighbour to collect the mail helped to deter thieves.

"We also encourage everyone to ensure their home is secure, and valuables such as cash, jewellery, portable electronics and even presents are put away and out of sight - small things like this can help protect your home and make it less attractive to would-be thieves," she said.

Ms Cronin also advised residents to ensure insurance policies covered new items, including new Christmas presents.

"Remember that thieves can strike anywhere, anytime - so be prepared and keep you home and contents secure this Christmas season, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

"This Christmas season, we're encouraging everyone in Queensland to make sure the only visitors you have at your house are family, friends and Santa Claus himself."


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