You’ve organised Christmas lunch and wrapped the final present, but have you thought about your own personal security?
ACT Policing has stressed the importance of being extra vigilant this festive season, whether you’re at home or away.
“We know at this time of year we can get a little bit relaxed in how we look after our property, so we’re reminding people that it’s important to secure your homes, secure your cars and to not leave car keys in obvious positions,” Officer in Charge of Vulnerable People and Proactive Policing Acting Inspector Ben Willis said.
If you are heading away, you can deter criminals seeking a quick way into your home by making sure all windows and doors are locked and asking neighbours to keep an eye on your house and collect any mail.
“Other steps you can take include one of those automatic timers which turn lights on and off, don’t close every blind in the house, and if you have a car that’s not being used, maybe leave it in the driveway,” Act Insp Willis said.
“There will always be opportunistic people who will just door knock to see if no one’s home, but taking these simple steps … are a simple way to making people believe there is somebody at home.”
More easy property crime prevention tips can be found at ACT Policing’s Outsmart the Offender site.
On the roads, ACT Road Policing has already increased its patrols, with random breath testing and drug testing catching people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
Detective Sergeant Jonathon Turkich said there were other concerning issues discovered at recent traffic stops.
“When we stop a driver for a roadside test, we also check their licence and registration, and already this summer, we’ve discovered several road users who had let one or both of these lapse,” he said.
“People need to remember there can be serious insurance issues if they’re involved in a crash in these circumstances, even if they’re not at fault.
“Before you set out on any holiday trip, you should check your car to ensure the tyres are good, the lights are working and so on. You should also double check your licence and registration are current.”
ACT licence photos are now valid for 11 years, making both them and vehicle registration easier to update online via Access Canberra.
If you’re busted driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid licence, it’s a $700 fine for each offence.
If your vehicle has been unregistered for two or more weeks, it is ineligible for insurance coverage, which attracts an additional $940 fine.
So you could be facing a $1640 fine for an unregistered and uninsured vehicle or a $2340 if your licence has expired on top of that.
“The cost of having your car registered and insured is probably cheaper than the fine for not having it done,” Det Sgt Turkich said.
“Around the time of your birthday, you should be checking your licence to make sure it is still current because it’s never nice to be stuck somewhere and not be able to drive away.”
Det Sgt Turkich also reminded drivers to make sure they were well rested before heading off on trips and to not overload their vehicles.
“It’s very easy to put the boogie boards on top and surfboards around and pack your suitcases up to the top, but you still need to be able to see your mirrors correctly and be able to make lane changes correctly,” he said.
“The holidays are there for joy for everybody, and we just need a little bit of patience on the road. An extra couple of minutes is not going to hurt you getting to your holiday.”
Double demerits will come into force in both the ACT and NSW for 11 days straight, from 12 am on Friday, 23 December, until 11:59 pm on Monday, 2 January 2023.