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According to the most recent crime statistics released by the SAPS last week, the number of house robberies and burglaries remains alarmingly high, with 22 343 robberies and 246 654 burglaries recorded for 2016/17.

“These stats are alarming – an average of 61 households robbed and 676 households every day. And that’s only taking into account the incidents that are reported to authorities”, says Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for Afrikaans insurance brand, Virseker. “We urge South Africans to be more vigilant than ever in making sure that their homes are as secure as possible, not only to protect their valuables, but also themselves and their loved ones.”

Research conducted by Professor Rudolph Zinn from UNISA’s School of Criminal Justice and Police Practice – who conducted in-depth interviews with 30 convicted robbers – revealed the following key insights on who these criminals are and how they operate:

  • Most of these robbers were males in their early 20’s.
  • They typically work in groups of 4.
  • On average, each perpetrator admitted to having committed 103 crimes.
  • Their main motivation was economic gain.
  • They select their targets based on wealth and how lucrative a crime would be.
  • The majority of criminals said they had inside information, often from domestic workers, gardeners or security guards.
  • All perpetrators said they would spend quite some time prior to the attack doing surveillance of their target.
  • Low security and availability of escape routes are key factors, but criminals will take on any target if they see it as valuable enough.

Late SAPS stalwart, Piet Byleveld, pointed out that having a safe in your house could be especially tempting for criminals due to the high perceived value of items in a safe. He also highlighted that criminals are well aware of the police and security companies’ response times, and that they operate within these limits.

Byleveld and Zinn agree that the best solution is an integrated approach with various security measures, as opposed to relying on a single layer of security. This includes:

  • Having small dogs inside the house than can alert you to an intruder.
  • Installing an electric fence on the perimeter of your property.
  • Installing an alarm system with sensors to warn you.
  • Employing an armed response service.
  • Installing security lights that switch on when movement is detected.
  • Installing CCTV cameras and an intercom system.
  • Installing strong doors and security gates with high quality locks.
  • Drawing the curtains at night, to avoid perpetrators monitoring your movement.
  • Having a secure room where you and your loved ones     would be able to take shelter in the event of an attack.
  • Having panic buttons on hand / installed where you are most likely to need them.
  • Ensuring that there is an open view from the street, and neighbouring houses, to your house – increasing the chance of perpetrators being seen.
  • Living in an area with good access control.
  • Thoroughly screening any domestic workers, gardeners, security guards and others who have access to your property.

Virseker also adds the following handy tips:

  • Be sure to check for vulnerable points where objects like telephone posts or trees make it easy to jump the fence.
  • Use access gates that don’t require you getting out of your car to open them, as this makes you an easy target for criminals. Also, be sure to look out for any suspicious vehicles or individuals when entering your property.
  • When possible, mix up your daily routine to make it less predictable for criminals to know when you’ll be home.
  • Don’t tempt criminals by leaving things like lawnmowers and vehicles outside for extended periods of time.
  • Cut away tree branches and remove objects like garden tools that could be used as leverage for getting into the house.
  • Notify your security company when you won’t be at home for extended periods of time.

“Despite our best preventative efforts, crimes like these still happen, so it’s vital to ensure that you have adequate insurance for all your household contents and to double-check that you will be covered to replace these items with similar, brand new ones”, Twilley concludes.



Northern KZN & Midlands Get It July 2018

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