Washing hung out to dry, mown lawns and lights on timers are all tools which can prevent burglaries, a local cop says.
Rotorua police Inspector Ed Van Den Broek said as people prepared to head away on summer holidays, they could burglar-proof their properties by "doing the obvious" and ensuring their homes were always locked.
People should make their neighbours aware of holiday plans, Mr Van Den Broek said.
"Ask them to clear the mail for you, make sure you stop the newspaper if you have the newspaper delivered.
"If you can, put out some washing on the line so the place looks lived in, put a light on a timer so it will come on in the evening."
Valuable items should also be kept out of the view of windows, he said.
"Don't leave a laptop or computer or a piece of jewellery in full view of windows."
If you're going away for a lengthy period of time - get someone to mow your lawns, Mr Van Den Broek said.
Nationally, more than 57,000 burglaries were committed during the last financial year, of which fewer than 9000 were resolved by police.
National prevention manager Superintendent Bruce Bird said with many people heading away on summer holidays, now was the time to protect your property.
"Keeping your home and your possessions safe can make all the difference between being a victim of a burglary or not."
Mr Bird said a burglar would take any opportunity to get into your home - so don't present them with a chance.
"Some burglars are opportunistic and see an unsecured window or gate, taking the chance to commit a burglary, but many offenders are put off by houses which are secure and seem lived in.
"If a burglar thinks you're at home they are less likely to attempt a break-in."
Getting to know your neighbours better, installing an alarm and even having a 'Beware of the Dog' sign on your property could also deter burglars.
Don't leave keys hidden in the garden either, as burglars know where to look, Mr Bird said.
Recording the serial numbers of expensive items on the police community partnership website Operation SNAP also discouraged criminals from targeting your property and meant there was a better chance of catching criminals if they handled or on-sold identifiable goods.
"If you see an unusual vehicle in your street or you see anyone acting suspiciously, don't hesitate to call police," Mr Bird said. "You could be the difference between your neighbours becoming the victim of a burglary or not."
University of Canterbury criminologist Professor Greg Newbold said a surge in summer crime should be expected. There tended to be a spike in burglaries as people left their homes to go on holidays.
"There is always a rise in property crime in holiday areas such as motor camps, where expensive equipment such as boats, dive gear and fishing gear can be left lying around tent sites."
Burglar-proofing your home:
- Set up or join a Neighbourhood Support group
- Install deadlocks and get into the habit of always using them
- Always lock doors and windows even while in the garden
- Keep garden sheds and garages secure and lock away tools and ladders
- Trim trees or remove shrubbery which could conceal burglars
- 1763 in the year to June 30, 2012 - 279 resolved
- 434 arrests for burglary in the year to June 30, 2012
- 1967 in the year to June 30, 2011 - 298 resolved
- 388 arrests for burglary in the year to June 30, 2011
- 57,351 in the year to June 30, 2012 - 8594 resolved
- 11,924 arrests for burglary in the year to June 30, 2012
- Figures supplied by Statistics NZ and include all reported burglaries of homes, commercial and industrial properties.