House robberies have become a problem in Jeffreys Bay over the past six years. Gone are the days when unoccupied holiday homes were targeted. Nowadays brazen thieves are after cash, laptops and cell phones.
There are precautions one can take to avoid becoming a crime statistic.
House robbery: When someone uses violence or threatens to use violence against another person in order to steal something on the residential premises of anyone, house robbery is committed.
PREVENT HOUSE ROBBERY AND THEFT
• Know all emergency numbers.
SAPS CRIME STOP : 08600 10111
SAPS EMERGENCY LINE : 10111
• Make provision for good outside lighting, but switch the lights off during the day. Outside lights that are on during the day and letters that are left in the post box are signs of no one being at home. Don’t leave your gates, garage, front or back door open or partially open – it serves as an invitation to burglars.
• Never open the door automatically whenever the bell rings or if someone knocks. Make completely sure the person wanting to enter is expected. Domestic workers, garden staff and children are often approached by robbers who act as telephone or TV repairmen, electricians, plumbers, TV licence or municipality inspectors and many other professions.
In an effort to gain entrance robbers use a cellphone and make as if they are talking to the owner of the house so as to put pressure on unsuspecting victims to open the gate or door. Those remaining at home should be made aware of these scams.
Emphasize the need for security to your domestic worker, so too ensuring his/her own safety. Arrange with people who remain at home as to how you will inform them if there is a need for them to open the house for deliveries, maintenance work or repairs. Always use the same procedure and inform the companies involved that they will not gain access unless you have made a specific arrangement.
• A dog is a good early warning system. Allow it to be visible as a deterrent but beyond the reach of strangers. The unexplainable death of a watchdog is a warning sign of a possible burglary.
• If your house alarm goes off, or you hear strange noises or your dogs bark switch on the outside lights.
• Always check the identity of strangers who visit for business purposes, to do deliveries or repairs. Ensure that you stay out of their reach to prevent being grabbed through a closed gate.
• Report suspicious characters to the police. When employing someone request their identity document and make a copy thereof for safekeeping. Check their previous employment references and do security clearances at the police.
• Install the best security you can afford, for example the security gates at outside doors. Keep these gates locked. If possible fix a door viewer and latch chain.
• When approaching your house entrance by foot or by car ensure that it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed. Be aware of persons loitering at the entrance.
• Always keep you keys safe to prevent duplication thereof. Never leave your house keys under a doormat or in a pot plant. Once you have locked your door from the inside remove the key and place it in a safe place.
• Do not leave keys in a hidden place for domestic staff or children, robbers often stake out a house and will find out about these hiding places. Do not give keys to people who do not live on the property or to anyone if it is not absolutely necessary.
• Know your neighbours and build a relationship of mutual trust and support. When going away inform them.
• It is always best to arrange with persons living in the same street as you to be ready at all times to come to the rescue of one another in dangerous or suspicious times. Exchange phone numbers or signalling methods when you find yourself in distress. Your strength always lies in how many people are able to support you in an emergency.
• If you buy luxury goods, cut up the boxes and dispose of these in tied black bags- a branded box is a telltale sign of what thieves could find in your house.
• Keep cash and valuables in banks or safes.
• Store your firearms in a safe.
If your house has been broken into –
• Contact your nearest police station immediately.
• Wait until fingerprints and statements are taken before touching anything.
• Do not allow private security companies to enter the house or touch anything before the police have arrived.
• A list of the make, model, and serial numbers of electrical appliances and other valuable equipment should always be available for investigation purposes.