Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released data showing that there has been an increase in household crimes such as housebreaking and home robbery in 2022/2023. This is not good news as we head for the end of year holidays, a time when we want to be rid of all the stress of the previous year. However, there are some positive steps that we can take to make sure that we don’t become victims and we’ve put these together in an easy check list below.
But first, you may be confused as to the difference between ‘housebreaking’ and ‘home robbery’. Stats SA describes it like this:
Home robbery is regarded as a violent crime because people are at home when it takes place…(while) housebreaking (burglary) occurs when the family is away from home.
Whether it is home robbery or housebreaking, it is always traumatic. Trellidor security consultants are often called in immediately after an incident to help families improve their home security and they see how hard it is for people to deal with. Their advice is that we all do as much as we can to make our homes safer and try to prevent a home robbery or housebreaking from happening as far as possible. They have some excellent security tips based on their experience out in the field. These are shared below to help you avoid a similar incident.
Checklist for a Safer Home
- Well before the holidays, check your security gates and burglar proofing. Replace anything rusted or weakened.
- If any windows or entry doors are unsecured, get barriers installed before the holidays. One of the most common points of entry for criminals is an open or unlocked door. A security gate, kept locked at all times, is a good way of preventing this.
- Don’t forget to install barriers to protect windows too, even high up, small ones. Criminals will find a way to use even the smallest unsecured opening.
- Clean up your yard. Lock away anything robbers could use to break in (garden tools, rubbish bins, toys, ladders.)
- Keep shrubs trimmed and your garden tidy, especially around the perimeter, so that there are no hiding places for prowlers.
- Keep garage doors closed and locked, including the ones that lead from the garage into the house. This inter-leading door should be protected by a security gate.
- Check that all battery back-up and/or battery-driven security is working before the holidays (sensor beams, portable panic buttons, smoke alarms, burglar alarms, automated roller shutters, driveway gates and garage doors).
- If you’re going away, close and lock all windows, doors, security gates, burglar proofing, patio doors and gates and passage gates before you go.
- If you’re staying at home, always lock security gates when doors are open for fresh air and light.
- Check that no keys are left lying around for robbers to use. The best place to keep these is in your safe zone, which should have a locked security gate in the passage or stairway and burglar bars on all windows.
- Identity theft is a real danger, so never leave personal information lying around at home or in your car and don’t reveal details to strangers that phone you.
- Make sure you know where all your sets of keys and panic buttons are. If any are missing, consider getting new locks fitted and changing panic button or gate control codes. Your local Trellidor franchise can assist with new locks on Trellidor security barriers.
- Set your alarm every time you leave your home unoccupied, even if it’s just for a short time.
- Watch your driveway gate close behind you every time you leave your property. Don’t just assume it has closed properly.
- Get to know your neighbours. Share names and phone numbers so you can communicate if there is unusual activity in your street.
- If you own dogs, keep them inside the house with you. They can’t protect you if locked outside plus they’re a great early warning system.
- Don’t put your name on your post box or on a sign with your road number. Criminals can use this information to gain access by pretending to know you.
This check list may look like a lot of work, but actually, most of it is common sense and you may have most of it in place already. Work on the outstanding items and you will go a long way towards creating a safer home for the holidays and beyond.
If you need help with a home security assessment, contact Trellidor and a security consultant will do this for you for free.