How to protect valuable items from home theft?

Photo: Shutterstock/Lucky Business
Photographers and bloggers flock to Bali with their cameras to capture stunning content, while programmers seek out serene workspaces with their powerful laptops. Even casual travellers often carry laptops or tablets during their visit.
However, it's crucial to acknowledge that a significant portion of Indonesia's population lives in poverty. While most individuals strive to earn an honest living, some resort to theft, especially in densely populated areas frequented by foreigners.
Reports of thefts of expensive equipment, such as cameras and laptops, from foreigners' accommodations are not uncommon in Bali.
During the end of Ramadan, it's particularly important to stay vigilant as many migrant workers return to their home islands where they often face unrealistic expectations from families and friends.
To sweeten the bitter pill, it's worth noting that thieves in Bali are mostly opportunistic. They resort to theft if it's easy. Therefore, maintaining extra vigilance and taking simple precautions should help keep your belongings safe.
In this article, we provide some useful tips on how to maximize the security of your belongings while in Bali.
1. Choose simpler accommodation to minimize attention
People staying in densely populated guesthouses are less likely to be targeted by thieves compared to those staying in expensive villas located in secluded areas.
Thieves often perceive people who can afford upscale accommodation as more likely to possess wealth and valuable items, making them prime targets.
However, if you plan to stay in luxurious accommodation during your time in Bali, follow the tips listed below to enhance security.
2. Always have someone at your accommodation
Ensuring a constant presence of people at your accommodation, whether they are family members, friends, neighbours, staff, or security personnel, serves as a deterrent against theft.
With people around, the opportunity for thieves to infiltrate your villa discreetly diminishes significantly.
Maintaining a consistent presence, even if it's as simple as having a vigilant dog with a loud bark, is a wise precautionary measure to safeguard your property.
3. Avoid showcasing your home
Avoid renting accommodation in areas where your home is easily visible from the outside. 
For instance, it's advisable to steer clear of houses with glass walls situated at intersections or properties where the garden area is enclosed by low hedges, providing easy access to potential intruders.
Likewise, homes with direct access to open areas like rice fields or those lacking nearby neighbours are more vulnerable to theft and should be avoided.
4. Keep valuable items out of sight
To prevent theft, ensure your valuable items such as laptops and cameras are concealed from view.
Arrange your space so that passers-by cannot easily see these items from the street. Even if a potential thief did not initially intend to target your accommodation, the sight of an unattended laptop on a garden table may prove too tempting to resist.
If your accommodation has transparent walls that face public areas, keep curtains drawn over them. When leaving home for an extended period, store valuables out of sight, such as under the bed or behind furniture.
Alternatively, consider the next point on our list for added security.
5. Purchase a safe box or rent accommodation with one
Consider purchasing a spacious and durable safe box for your valuables.
Alternatively, when evaluating rental options, inquire about the availability of a safe box that meets your size requirements.
6. Avoid inviting strangers into your home
Whenever possible, refrain from allowing strangers into your home to prevent them from seeing your valuables and to avoid tempting them to steal.
This includes individuals offering services, such as insect fumigation, who arrive at your doorstep without prior arrangements.
There have been several cases of theft in Bali where thieves posed as service providers, requesting residents to vacate the premises for insect fumigation, only to steal valuables while the accommodation was left unattended.
7.Install surveillance cameras
You can purchase surveillance cameras or a smart home system on Tokopedia. Opt for cameras capable of streaming video over the internet, enabling real-time monitoring of your accommodation’s premises from anywhere.
8. Befriend your neighbours
Building a friendly relationship with your local neighbours can help deter potential thieves.
Indonesians are naturally curious, often posing questions such as "Who are you?" and "Where are you from?" to "Do your parents miss you?" and "Where does your wife work?". While these inquiries may unsettle inexperienced tourists, they can also discourage potential wrongdoers.
Therefore, having good relationships with your neighbours can turn them into your watchful guardians. Familiar with your routines, they can recognize when something seems odd and intervene in the event of unusual activity or noise.
Providing them with your WhatsApp number ensures they can quickly reach you in case of urgent matters.
9. Photograph your equipment
As a precautionary measure against equipment theft, photograph your expensive items, capturing their serial numbers, and ideally, include your face in the photo.
This documentation can serve as compelling evidence of ownership if your valuable equipment is stolen and later found being sold in a market. With the aid of the police and a stroke of luck, you may even succeed in recovering your stolen property.
10. Do not keep cash at home
It's advisable to keep your money in a bank account, or if you have a significant amount of cash, store it in a secure safe.
Opening an account at a local Permata Bank in Bali is a straightforward and efficient way to manage your finances without the need to carry large sums of cash, alleviating concerns about its safety.
11. Lock windows and doors when leaving home
Even if you're stepping out for a brief period, make sure to lock all windows and doors.
While it's true that determined thieves may still attempt to break windows or pick locks, the effort required is significantly greater compared to entering through an open window or door.
By securing all entry points, you deter many potential intruders who might not bother attempting a break-in due to the increased difficulty.
12. Have someone checking on your property during extended absences
If you're planning an extended absence from home, it's wise to ask someone you trust to periodically check on your property to ensure everything is in order.
Additionally, consider leaving a radio on at a moderate volume. The mix of chatter and music will create the impression of occupancy, deterring potential intruders.
13. Be realistic
Relying solely on the belief in good karma or the notion that the island will shield you from theft is not a reliable strategy.
Similarly, chanting mantras like "This is Bali. Nothing bad can happen here!" won't provide effective protection against theft.
It's essential to take practical precautions and security measures to safeguard your belongings and ensure your safety while visiting or residing in Bali.
How do you protect your valuables at home or at a villa in Bali?
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