Source: The Mercury, 23 March, 1998, p.3
By MARGARETTA POS TASMANIA had the highest reported rate of theft from homes in Australia last year - for the second year in a row. And the hardest hit are young people aged 20 to 24, suffering almost half of all reported break-ins. These are key findings from research by AAMI. The insurance giant found there were an av- erage 13 home insurance theft claims per 1000 policies in Tasmania in 1997. However, this was down on the record 1996 level of 14. Tasmania was closely followed last year by southern Queensland (12.7 claims per 1000 policies), Victoria (11) and NSW (9.7). The re- search did not include Western Australia or the Northern Territory. AAMI state manager James Merchant said in Hobart yesterday Tas- manians were not secur- ity conscious. He said that in 68.8% of reported burglaries in Tasmania last year, thieves en- tered through windows. "That's the highest rate in Australia," he said. On the other hand, at 28.1%, Tasmania had the lowest rate of thieves entering through doors -many of them open. "Tasmania has one of the lowest installation rates of window locks and deadlocks in houses that were burgled, leav- ing people unnecessarily vulnerable with inad- equate security meas- ures," he said. "Only 49% of burgled homes had deadlocks while a low 20% had window locks." Mr Merchant said Tasmanians could re- duce the incidence of burglary by installing deadlocks and security screen doors, and by locking garages and gar- den sheds. "It only takes an aver- age three minutes to burgle a house, maybe while the owner is watering the garden," he said. Deadlocked doors re- stricted escape routes for thieves, forcing them to leave by windows, risk- ing injury or detection. But he warned people not to deadlock doors when they were at home. "Deadlocks can make it difficult for people to leave their homes in emergencies, such as fire," he said. The research found that one in three bur- glaries occurred when people were at work, one in four when they were at home, and about one in five when people were on holiday. It also found that the 20-24 age group was most vulnerable, with 46% of all reported break-ins, the highest rate in the nation. It was a trend Australia-wide, with an average 35.8 claims per 1000 policies last year up from 28.5 in 1996.
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