Police have reported a spike in the number of home break-ins over the past two weeks, but thieves beware, you could be under watch.
In the last fortnight, 19 homes were broken into across the Port-Stephens Hunter district – a 46 per cent increase on the average number of fortnightly incidents. Ten of the homes hit were in Maitland.
Three Rutherford homes have been broken into since last Thursday, while another three incidents occurred in East Maitland the week before. Other targeted areas included Metford and Woodberry.
A new home still in the lockup stage at Gillieston Heights was also hit hard by thieves sometime between April 3 and 6.
The new owners lost a dishwasher, dryer, two toilets, three vanities, a gas water heater, a cook top and a microwave from the Redwood Drive property.
But to combat the problem, police and Neighbourhood Watch say residents are increasingly taking steps to protect themselves – namely in the use of residential security cameras.
Neighbourhood Watch Hunter area coordinator Bill Hackney said five years ago, installing home security cameras meant handwiring, having to hire a professional and a lot of money.
“Now you can get wireless cameras that are simple to install,” he said. “You can install a system for as little as $200.
“It’s more accessible and more affordable.”
Maitland Police officer in charge Chief Inspector Glenn Blain said motion detection systems were even available now that could pick up when an intruder was on a resident’s property and send a notification to their phone.
“There have been lots of recent advancements in electronic surveillance,” Inspector Blain said.
“It has absolutely come a long way.”
Mr Hackney said he read an article recently that said the amount of Australian homeowners with home security cameras installed had tripled in the last two years.
“You do hear of it a lot more,” he said.
The Metford Neighbourhood Watch Group has even acquired security cameras of their own to loan to residents, which has been proven to be successful.
Mr Hackney said after a string of break-ins at a Chelmsford Drive unit block at the end of last year the group installed the cameras, which led to an offender being caught.