Residential break-ins are the #1 crime in South Africa
By Terry Bourquin for Tonicdor | 22 July 2020
With nationwide lockdown, South Africans have adapted to being home-bound. Most of us set up home-offices from which to work and home-school our children. Raiding the fridge has become the most popular pastime as we waggle our extra body weight around our new centre of existence, our home.
During Zoom meetings, board games, kids’ schoolwork, and Netflix movie-nights we continuously have this one big stress hanging over us like the Sword of Damocles: Are we Safe?
Being under lockdown has caused us all to take a serious look at our family’s security. It is a horrid experience to return from the office to find that your home was ransacked, but way more stressful than that is the inconceivable thought of being robbed while the whole family is at home. Feeling like sitting ducks and worrying about the safety of our loved ones only add to the stress levels the covid-19 pandemic dumped on us all. The thought of our loved ones (and ourselves) being harmed during a break-in is just incomprehensible.
And who does not stress excessively during the hours of load shedding when house alarm batteries run down! Now more than ever proper security gates and burglar proofing is of cardinal importance.
What convicted House Robbers Confessed
Rudolph Zinn, Professor of Policing and Forensic Investigation, interviewed incarcerated house robbers to understand their modus operandi when targeting homes in SA for a break-in. “Unlike burglaries, in which goods are stolen while no one is present, house robberies are deliberately planned to take place when residents are home.” The study shows 1 in 3 house robbers have committed murder and an average of 103 crimes are committed by each before they finally end up in prison.
Prof. Zinn concludes that a single security system is not enough to deter being targeted. Instead he advises multiple layers of security to protect your house against break-ins as houses with low security were preferred targets.
Convicted house robbers confessed to targeting Homes with these weaknesses:
Targets for Break-ins
House robbers look for an easy in-and-out. The lower your visible security measures are, the higher your risk of attracting attention to your Home as a break-in target.
Value of Goods
High value of goods in your home is the main attraction for criminals. A high risk factor is the visibility of valuables (from the street & neighbours) through windows.
Contract workers on your property can easily scan the value and location of your assets. Workers without reference and criminal record checks can easily leak info to robbers.
Housebreaking is The Number One Crime In SA
The Government’s STATS SA (Statistics South Africa) crime statistics state that housebreaking is the number one crime in South Africa. There were 1.3 million incidents of housebreaking during 2018/19 financial year with 5,8% of SA households being affected. Of these, only 467 599 (48%) were reported to the police.
Not everyone reports break-ins, and even less people probably could report during nationwide lockdown. It makes you wonder about the accuracy of the statistics which show a significant decrease in crime during lockdown.
Crime rates during lockdown
Police Minister Bheki Cele’s briefed the Media about the reduced crime rates during nationwide lockdown. Minister Cele compared lockdown crime stats to that of March to May 2019. The stats show a dramatic decrease in crime statistics during lockdown levels 5 and 4, but did South Africans report the crimes during this time of not being allowed to leave our homes?
During level 3 of lockdown, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is expecting more crimes to be reported by South Africans. This will reflect way more realistic crime statistics during the pandemic lockdown.
In an interview by POWER 98.7, Gareth Newham (head of justice and violence prevention at the ISS) says: “… during lockdown levels 5 & 4, people did not leave their homes to report a crime at a police station, as it was never “listed as a reason to leave your home and go report a crime. It was not in the regulations”.
With housebreaking being the number 1 crime in South Africa, we do not need further statistics to tell us the importance of safeguarding our family and homes.
How do I Secure my Family & Home?
EMERGENCY ESCAPE PLAN
Few people think of this, yet it can be a lifesaver. Devise at least two exit routes (or a hiding place) should you find yourself inside your house during a break-in. Then arrange “security drills” with family to ensure it goes smoothly. Everyone needs to know exactly what to do, and when to do it. Emergency numbers should be easily accessible to everyone on the property.
MINIMISE THE RISK OF LEAKING INSIDE INFORMATION
Criminals prefer to target homes where they have inside information from domestic workers, gardeners and even security guards. Ensure you employ workers with no criminal record and preferably through reliable references. Draw curtains and blinds when you have contract workers on your property. If a repair service is needed inside your home, make the route to the area short. Close doors to living areas and Home offices to disguise the exact location of your equipment and valuables.
DRIVEWAY AND PROPERTY WALLS
As main entry to your property, one cannot afford the risk of a flimsy gate. Look for a supplier who manufactures strong steel driveway gates and have proper installation experience. Furthermore, although not the décor of choice, visible security or armed response signs on your gate and walls could be a great deterrent for criminals. Also ensure your House/Unit number is legible on your outside wall, should police/security need to find your home.
FRONT DOOR SECURITY
Nearly one third of burglars enter through the front door, and not all of them “break in”. Some are “invited in” as their story of checking a meter reading or TV license is believed. Never allow strangers onto your property or into your home, and make sure the whole family and domestic workers abide by this rule.
Protect your front door from being kicked down. Wooden doors, although lovely, can be kicked open in seconds. Make sure you have a double upright, solid steel security gate installed, or replace the wooden door with a metal clad door. Your main entrance is there to welcome guests, but definitely not criminals!
IN-HOUSE BARRIER PROTECTION
Installing in-house barrier security gates inside your home is a great way to double up on safety measures. It totally separates your family from the living areas and home office containing the equipment thieves are mainly interested in. Ultimately the safety of our loved ones take priority. Slam locks security gates are the best for in-house barriers as they can slam with automatic locking in seconds. At bedtime you can lock the second hook-lock system and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. Make sure a panic button and mobile phones are on your side of the blocked-off area, should intruders be in your house and you need to alert security or police.
Trellis two-lock system security doors/gates works great on Patio doors. The sliding of the doors is convenient and if you are spending time in the garden, a slam-lock gates takes the hassle out of locking with a key every time you enter your house. When you are done with soaking up the sun, the second hook-lock can be locked with a key for that double security and peace of mind.
Slam locks security gates are great if you need to get yourself behind the security gate and lock in a hurry. You literally slam the door closed and it locks automatically, and it is easy to teach the kids how to use it for their safety. These security gates can be powder-coated in your preferred colour so no need for it to clash with your décor theme. Always look for suppliers who offer a decent warranty on their products as this will indicate the quality of their security gates.
BACK DOORS & GARDEN GATES
Swing gates work great on a kitchen door, granny flat/garden cottage, home office or any single door you need to secure. Again, make sure durable strong steel gates are installed by a reputable and experienced security gate installer who offers great warranties.
WINDOW BURGLAR PROOFING
Prevent criminals from “window shopping” your valuables. Ensure your valuables, Laptops, computers, and cell phones (and the TV of course) are not visible through windows from the street. Even so, you need to have all windows secured with good quality steel burglar bars. Sliding trellis security burglar bars is a great option for sliding windows, or window bays where you do not want your view obscured all the time.
ELECTRIC SECURITY SYSTEMS
To add multiple layers of security on your family home, have a good alarm security system installed with panic buttons around key areas of your house. Add motion-sensor lights as a further measure to detect any movement outside your house. If you have a garden area, electric fencing (or Razor spikes/wire) adds additional security. Make sure it complies with Government’s legislation of a valid Electric Fence System certificate of compliance (EFC) issued by a registered Electric Fence System Installer (EFSI). Security cameras can also alert you when someone is on your property. Look into getting the latest technology such as Wireless Security cameras, IP cameras, Motion detector cameras, Surveillance cameras or even cameras with night vision which you can manage from your phone.
Take Action. Get Peace of Mind.
Being vigilant is almost second nature to any South African. However, we all let our guard down at times. Buddy up with surrounding neighbours and form a WhatsApp group where everyone watches out for each other. We all need to use common sense and follow our intuition when that uncomfortable feeling creeps up. Do not take any chances and make sure your whole family are vigilant and adhere 100% to the security rules of your home.
The STATS SA (Statistics South Africa) report indicates Gauteng having the most housebreakings. Some could have been prevented but not all South Africans implement security measures against crime. The report states: “about 27% of the people did not take any measures against crime because they felt that there is nothing they can do.” Are you one of them?
Make sure you have ALL possible security measures in place. If not, start today by installing security gates and burglar proofing. Then roll out your plan a step-at-a-time. If a small unprotected window has been bugging you for a while, make it top priority to have it burglar proofed. Is the laundry and back doors a weak spot or your Patio sliding doors unprotected? Get steel security gates with a good warranty installed to safeguard your family and have peace of mind, especially during this lockdown phase where you and your family are most vulnerable to residential break-ins.
Beef up your Security to be Visible and Safeguard your Premises.
During 11 years in the manufacture and installation of Security Gates & Burglar bar, Tonicdor has assisted many families and Businesses with securing their premises. All Tonicdor products have a 5 Year Warranty.
Get a free no-obligation quote with 10% discount on all our products:
- Retractable Slam Lock Trellis Gates
- Swing Gates, Patio Sliding Gates
- In-house & In-office Barriers, Server Window Bars & Steel buzzer gates,
- Window Burglar Bars & Access Gates
During 11 years in the Security product and installation industry, Tonicdor has successfully worked with:
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