As we move into the warmer months, we tend to see an uptick in crime. And more council properties become targets for break-and-enter burglaries and thefts.

So before the silly season rolls in, here are a few housekeeping reminders to help your council safeguard assets this summer.

A rise in temperature – and crime

With the sun out and the air warm, spring and summer never fail to raise people’s spirits.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing going up during this season. Crime rates are, too.

As the weather warms up, particularly during the holiday period, we see an increase in crime. Maybe because the days stay brighter and warmer for longer, and people are out and about more.

Or perhaps it’s because office buildings are left unoccupied, depots closed, and construction sites sit idle over the holidays – making these gold mines of opportunity for burglary and theft.

We don’t know the precise reason (or reasons) for the increase in crime. But what we do know is this: Councils need to do all they can to prevent and reduce losses this summer.

Read on to find out how.

Know your enemy… and their target

Criminals tend to target specific places during the holiday period, such as:

  • Works depots
  • Council offices
  • Treatment plants
  • Construction sites
  • Storage areas at parks and gardens
  • Swimming pools and sporting facilities

What do they go for?

Anything they can get their hands on quickly. That’s why they tend to steal small, portable items that they can easily pick up, conceal, and dispose of. These include:

  • Chainsaws and pole saws
  • Whipper snippers
  • Mowers
  • Hand tools and cordless power tools
  • Fuel (from vehicles left at remote worksites)
  • Electrical equipment (like phones, tablets and laptops)
  • Stock items (like food, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages)
  • Money

Opportunistic in nature – most of the time

Most of these crimes are typically opportunistic in nature; they’re not planned or well thought through. The offender usually acts when the opportunity presents itself – and they tend to look for easy wins or targets.

But occasionally, they’re planned.

Recently, one of our member councils was subjected to a targeted break-and-enter. It’s believed that the perpetrators scoped out a works depot, then broke in to steal a trailer-mounted generator and small excavator at an opportune time.

Historical evidence also shows that offenders often return to the same location after a few months – when the stolen items have been replaced.

‘Lock it or lose it’: What your council can do to deter crime

You can’t always stop crime from happening, but you can help ensure your facilities are not easy targets. And sometimes, simple security measures can go a long way.

Here are some of the things you can – and should – do:

  • Ensure all perimeter fencing is secure to prevent access.
  • Check that flood lighting is working and targets key areas of the facility.
  • Manage vegetation so it doesn’t inadvertently provide cover for criminals.
  • Ensure all CCTV in place is working – and that cloud or hard drive back-ups are functioning.
  • Consider portable CCTV trailers at long-term construction sites.
  • Fit padlock covers on containers, sheds and trailers to prevent the use of bolt cutters or angle grinders.
  • Store power tools and equipment in ute trays in lock boxes or at another secure location.
  • Park vehicles in well-lit spaces.
  • Minimise the number of fleet vehicles left in remote locations.
  • Relocate all fuel trailers back to depots.
  • Park all mobile plants at remote worksites in a secure location and have minimal quantities of fuel – with operating keys kept securely.
  • Lock all tablets, laptops, phones and cash in strong rooms.

Looking for advice on how to ramp up your council’s risk management and security measures? Speak to your Regional Risk Manager today.

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