Some 240,000 burglaries occur in South Africa every year – the single biggest crime scourge in local neighbourhoods. And between 16:00 and 22:00 are the times during which most robberies occur.
This is according to Professor Rudolph Zinn, author of Home Invasion: Robbers Disclose What You Should Know.
Zinn says most burglaries take place during the day when people are at work. These burglaries are opportunistic. “They will usually pick a neighbourhood and go from house to house, ringing doorbells or intercoms to see if anyone is home. They want to get in and out as quickly as possible so any noise, like dogs on the property, would act as a deterrent. Dogs kept inside are the greatest deterrent,” he says.
He distinguishes between burglars and robbers. He says robbers scout a neighbourhood to see how tight the security is. When interviewed by Zinn in South Africa, 68% said a visible patrol or neighbourhood watch would deter them from going in, so having a good neighbourhood watch in the area or proactive patrolling by a security provider can be a major deterrent. Some 77% of robbers interviewed said they had help from a source inside the house.
Theunis Kotze, ADT general manager: inland region, agrees, saying this is one of the primary reasons ADT first introduced its Domestic Watch programme to empower domestic staff to be more security conscious.
Kotze says in the Johannesburg region alone there has been a marked increase in both the number of burglaries and robberies. “If we take our stats for May alone we see that burglaries occurring between 06:00 and 18:00 increased from 120 incidents in May 2014 to 213 in May 2015. Similarly, robberies for that same period between 18:00 and 06:00 increased from 294 in May 2014 to 488 in May 2015. “This means the number of incidents has virtually doubled year-on-year which is a very concerning trend.”
Perimeter security is vital, according to Zinn, who says robbers were less likely to hit a home that had a perimeter alarm or beams as they said it gave the homeowner more time to arm themselves and call their security provider or the police. He said robbers usually went into houses between 16:00 and 22:00 as people were at home and did not have their alarms set yet.
Kotze says it is imperative for homeowners to arm their alarm as soon as they are home in the evening and particularly when they are asleep. The value of perimeter security comes into stark focus when you consider the current trend. “Electric fences and beams act as an early warning system for homeowners and can be a very strong crime deterrent.”
Kotze provides basic tips can go a long way to protecting your home and family
- Ensure the shrubs are trimmed around your driveway gate. All overgrowth and trees should be cut back to prevent criminals from utilising these to access your property by jumping over walls
- Ensure that perimeter doors are fitted with adequate locks. The front door should have a safety chain or safety latch and, if the door has no vision panel, a door viewer.
- Ensure all windows are fitted with adequate locks or burglar bars that cover all glass.
- Install outside lights that can be remotely controlled from inside the house.
- If you note suspicious vehicles, individuals or groups in your neighbourhood, contact the police or your security company.
- Sleep with a panic button next to your bedside in case of an emergency.