Thieves are just like you; they want to get in your home by walking through the door.

Naturally, it’s important to deter thieves from the easiest point of access with good security.  Features like deadbolts, alarm systems and motion sensor lighting protect the easiest point of entry: the door.

But what about other access points?

If using the front or back door seems difficult, amateur thieves might give up and target another property. But professional or semi-professional thieves have plenty of clever tricks. They know how to gain access in other ways.

If the front or back door is security locked, thieves might try some of these less common modes of entry.

Thieves entry point #1: laundry or bathroom window

These smaller windows are often neglected and left open or partially open. Many of these windows are not securely locked, or worse, don’t have locks at all.  Therefore, thieves find these small bathroom or laundry windows very appealing. These access points are often located toward the rear or side of the home. This gives thieves ample time to scramble in through the unlocked window. They can break the window if necessary, and neighbours or people walking past are not likely to hear anything or notice anything amiss.

What to do: install locks on your smaller windows in laundries and bathrooms and keep them locked. Remove trees or secure furniture that may be used to climb up to higher windows.

Thieves entry point #2: pet door

Canny thieves can easily fit through a larger pet door for dogs. In July 2016, the Herald Sun reported that more than 30 properties across Melbourne have been burgled via the pet door. Thieves can either squeeze through a dog door, or use a wire or lever to enable access nearby. Thieves like using dog or pet doors for access because it leaves no trace of entry. Without noticeable signs of forced entry, home owners may not notice their missing jewels or cash for some time.

What to do: keep your pet door locked and secure when you are away from home. Get in the habit of locking the pet door after your pet has come inside, so that it is most often locked. Using a pet door that allows pets to get outside but not back inside is also a good idea.

Thieves entry point #3: the roof

This is a tactic used by more experienced, professional thieves. By cutting a hole in the roof, they can quickly gain access to the property. Some come down through light fittings or skylights. This tactic is sometimes used in affluent suburbs such as Fitzroy, South Melbourne, Collingwood and Carlton. These suburbs have many two story properties, so thieves can avoid triggering alarms on the ground floor. Master bedrooms are often on the second floor and can be good sources of valuables and cash.

What to do: Make it hard to access the roof – remove nearby trees and keep ladders securely stored away. Ensure skylights are secure and hard to access without force. Use lighting that extends to the roof so that any thief will be bathed in spotlight when clambering on your roof.

Thieves entry point #4: with a key

Savvy criminals can quickly find spare keys hidden around your property: under the door mat, in the letter box, under a nearby rock or flowerpot or in the letterbox. Finding the key and strolling in the front door saves burglars plenty of time and hassle.  Your insurance policies may be void if you leave a key in a place where a robber can find it. So, make sure to check!

What to do: Be very careful about your spare key. Avoid all the obvious locations, leave it with a neighbour or use a spare key coded safe lock box.