RON Bowden and his wife Barbara have always been reasonably security conscious but are now changing their habits after a would-be thief opened their back door while Mrs Bowden was at home.
Mr Bowden was only away from home for a short time on Tuesday when he drove to the central business district while his wife remained at home in their sitting room.
When Mrs Bowden heard the back door open she assumed it was her husband returning home.
However a police officer says an opportunistic thief took advantage of the unlocked back door to try and gain entry and was startled to find Mrs Bowden at home.
Inspector Bruce Grassick of Orange police said householders now need to outsmart thieves who are using a number of tactics to gain entry to premises.
“It really does mean that people will have to change their habits about securing their homes as many thieves are just opportunistic and will find any means they can to gain access,” he said.
Mr Bowden said during the day when he drives out of the yard he usually leaves the side gate in his driveway open until he returns.
“But that’s changing and it will be locked when we go in and out,” he said.
Inspector Grassick said people need to get in to the habit of locking their front and back doors even while they are at home.
“Some people too think that if they lock a screen door that is a form of protection, but a screen door needs to be a security-style door,” he said.
“Thieves can just simply cut through a screen and open a door,” he said.
Inspector Grassick said he understands residents in hot weather want to leave windows open at night, but should take precautions to ensure thieves can’t get in.
“There are some types of locks you can buy which can allow you to open your window at night, but won’t allow access,” he said.
Mr Bowden said he wanted to tell of his experience to warn others about being aware of security.
“Since I have spoken to people about what happened to us I have heard stories about some of the methods these people are using to break in,” he said.
“Whistling to see if a dog is at the house and dropping a tennis ball on the front verandah to trigger security lights are just a couple,” he said.