Every year during October and November there is a definite spike in crime with house break and theft, theft out of motor vehicle; theft from motor vehicle; follow homes and common robberies dominating across all regions.
Charnel Hattingh, Fidelity ADT National Marketing and Communications Manager, says much of the crime seems opportunistic at this time of year.
“Suspects are aware residents are starting to shop for the festive season and to entertain. There’s no particular pattern in terms of times of the day these crimes are taking place but we can see that in a number of instances people have forgotten to arm their systems, or put on their beams.
“There is also a worrying trend of gates being left open. That is a problem as it is a home owner’s first line of defence. In other instances we have found that criminals find a weak point in the perimeter security where they the electric fence is not working or the gates are not locked for example.
Theft out of motor vehicle also seems to be higher at shopping centres or linked to cases where people park their vehicles on the street when visiting, instead of inside the property,” she says.
Hattingh says common robberies and robbery with a firearm happen randomly on the street because victims often unwittingly expose their possessions, e.g. cell phones while waiting for a taxi, going to restaurants and shops or by wearing earphones and not being fully aware of their surroundings.
She says it is so key to remain alert and vigilant at all times.
Here are some security tips to keep in mind:
- Gates – make sure that your gate opens and closes as quickly as possible. This means less time sitting in your driveway or the road where you are a vulnerable target to hijackers. Also ensure that the motor has a locked box covering it to stop any attempts at tampering. Remember to keep your gates closed at all times.
- Be aware of your surroundings – Be alert for being followed home or of any suspicious cars or people in your neighbourhood. Remember to be an active participant in your neighbourhood watch WhatsApp group if you have a suburb or road grouping. Neighbours need to look out for one another.
- Bushes and trees – make sure that bushes and trees on your property are checked regularly to ensure they are not affecting your perimeter security. Branches should be cut back to prevent blocking or impeding the effective functioning of your perimeter security, or where they may be used to climb into and access your property.
- Beams – make sure that beams are installed correctly and at the most optimal angle to increase their range and effectiveness. It is also important to make sure that these beams are not obscured by shrubbery, or near reflective surfaces to prevent excessive false alarm activations.
- Carry remote panics with you at all times at home and equip your domestic staff with remote panics.
- Be sure your alarm is armed at all times and that everyone within the household – including domestic staff – know when and how to use the alarm system and panic buttons if these are installed. They should also know who to call in an emergency – make a list of contact numbers and post them on or near a phone. If you have not been informed of the arrival of delivery people or service providers, do not open the door, even if they insist that they have an appointment.
- Make sure you are not distracted when out on the street or in a shopping centre. Do not use ear phones or text on your phone in full view of passers-by. Crime is opportunistic and happens quickly when you are distracted.
- Keep your boot locked at all times and don’t drive with valuables in your car that can be seen through the window. Rather lock these items in the boot. Perhaps consider putting a polycarbonate film on the windows to assist in the event of a smash and grab incident. These can be tinted so that no one can see into the car, while also preventing the windows from shattering.
“We are living in a tough economy and crime is definitely on the increase. Be aware of the heightened risks during this period and in the unfortunate event you and your family are a victim of crime please remember counselling is important. Certainly Fidelity ADT will be increasing patrols and visibility over the next couple of weeks,” concludes Hattingh.