It has been calculated that all these cases of private properties being broken into are costing society over 350 million euros. Many can be avoided though. Each province has drawn up a list of how to avoid becoming a victim of thieves.
Neighbourhood drinks and Facebook groups should make sure the message is reaching as many people as possible. Flyers are being distributed and some volunteers are even doing door-to-door visits. Belgium got the idea from the Netherlands, where a similar initiative was taken. This caused a drop in the number of burglaries.
Here are some tips to prevent burglaries:
- Make sure your place is clearly visible. Install lights on the outside and prune the hedges or trees surrounding your house.
- It's not just about the front door, on the contrary. Don't forget the rear side, it's the burglars' favourite place to force their way into your home.
- Don't help burglars: keep your garden tools or ladder behind lock and key.
- Valuables should be kept out of sight. Put them somewhere where they are harder to find, make a list of your valuable belongings and take photographs.
- If you would go on a holiday, avoid giving the impression that your house or flat is not being lived in: avoid full letter boxes, notes on the door and make a deal with your neighbours.
- Always close all your windows and doors, even if you are only away for a couple of minutes. This also goes for the garage, the garden shed and the basement window.
- Never put your keys under the door mat or in the flower pot.