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Armed home robberies: how to prevent them

One of the most common crimes in South Africa today is armed home robbery.

No matter how prepared you think you will be in the event of this happening to your family, many home invasions end tragically when people panic or try to escape the situation.

Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT, says nobody can be fully prepared for being confronted by armed criminals in their own home. Keeping a cool head is, however, imperative.

She reiterates that armed robberies can happen at any time of the day.

“You could as easily be a victim on a lazy Sunday morning while drinking coffee in the garden as while watching TV at 11pm.

The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to secure your home properly so that criminals cannot gain access and surprise you.”

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6 things to do if you are a victim of armed robbery at home:

  1. Keep calm. Make no sudden movements and keep your hands where the perpetrators can see them. The robbers are also on edge and functioning on adrenalin, which can cause them to shoot if something unexpected happens.
  2. Obey instructions but all the while take in detail, like how many robbers there are, what clothing they are wearing, the weapons they have, language they use and any distinctive markings.
  3. Do not have a discussion with them or try to change their minds. Speak only if spoken to and answer in a clear voice.
  4. Give them what they want. Be honest about what is in the house and how much cash you have on you or where the safe is.
  5. Do not give chase when they leave but try to note a description of the vehicle/s they get away in.
  6. Press your panic button/call the police and/or your security company.

Hattingh says there are a number of steps homeowners can take to not only better ensure the security of their possessions but their loved ones too.

6 ways to keep robbers out:

  1. Install garden beams as an early warning device and deterrent. These should be activated when you are inside.
  2. Have proper lighting, preferably sensor lights, around the house.
  3. Make sure your electric fence is working properly and install CCTV, which has been proven to be a good deterrent for criminals.
  4. Windows and doors should be secured with burglar proofing and security gates.
  5. Do proper reference checks on domestic staff before employing them. Many home robberies are the result of inside information and help.
  6. Never give keys and remotes to general service providers or strangers and if it is a new home change all the locks before you move in.

“It is everyone’s worst nightmare to be held at gunpoint in your home.

As home robberies are very common, it is increasingly important for homeowners to protect their families and homes better with preventative security measures,” Hattingh concludes.