Protect your home from burglary

According to Statistics South Africa, house-breaking is the second most common type of crime experienced by households in many of the country's communities. Image: Supplied

With a high number of home burglaries being reported during winter, residents are urged to exercise caution and vigilance to ensure their safety.

According to the most recent crime statistics released by Statistics South Africa, over 50 per cent of all crimes experienced by households in South Africa in 2015/ 16 were house-breakings and burglaries. This has fuelled fears in communities about the prospects of falling victim to personal injury and emotional trauma in their homes, where they should, in essence, be at their safest.

Frik van Zyl, spokesperson for the West Surburbs Roodepoort Neighbourhood Watch said there are many ways in which Roodepoort’s residents can protect themselves and their homes from burglary and crime.

Here are the tips:

1. Keep your doors and gates locked at all times

Burglars in Roodepoort are often seen roaming the streets looking for their next target. This may sound incredibly obvious, but you would be amazed at how often these opportunistic thieves gain access into homes through the sheer negligence of home-owners. Always ensure that your gates and doors are locked – at all times. This applies also to when you’re at home, especially when your guard is down. Even the best locks can’t protect you if you don’t use them. The more difficult you make it for burglars to enter your home, the better your chances of protecting yourself.

2. Know your neighbours

Van Zyl said it is important to establish a relationship or rapport with your neighbours. This can be very beneficial in cases of emergencies, as well as in the establishment of a system aimed at curbing crime.

“Neighbours have proven to be one of the best alarm systems yet. When you have some form of relationship with your neighbour, it is easy to ask them to keep an eye on your property. Neighbours are also able to alert you when they see suspicious activity at your home,” he said.

3. Remove the ‘hidden’ house key

Many households keep a spare key under the mat, inside the mailbox, beneath a rock or sometimes under a plant located close to the door. These are common places which are often known to criminals. While it is important to keep a spare key at one’s disposal for cases of emergencies, hiding these at ‘obvious places’ increases your chances of burglary. Hide all spares at places that are difficult to locate or better yet, give them to a trusted neighbour.

4. Eliminate hiding spots

If your shrubs and trees are too tall, excessively bushy, or not well spaced, you are probably providing a nice spot for a potential burglar to hide. Trim and prune all your plants. Shrubs generally look nicer when they’re trimmed.

5. Don’t make it obvious that you’re out of town

Obvious signs that you’re out of town will turn your home into an easy target for burglary. You can eliminate these by making it seem as if you’re home, or that there is someone inside the house even when there isn’t. Always ask your neighbour to collect all your post and monitor your home while you’re away. Many households have installed flood-lights or timer switches that turn lights on at certain times of the night, and off in the morning.

6. Prevent your sliding glass doors from being lifted off the tracks

Sliding glass doors are also a common entry point. Burglars are reported to be able to lift them off their tracks, in order to gain access to your home. A new product that prevents this is a double-bolt lock. This lock can be placed above your existing lock. It is one of very few locks on the market that prevent sliding doors from being lifted out of their tracks, and is able to withstand up to 450kgs of force.

7. Keep your pets indoors, not outside

The most seasoned robbers won’t be deterred by a pet or small dog. In fact, there is a good chance that your pet might get harmed or stolen during a burglary at your home. A high number of dogs being fed poison by criminals during home burglaries has been reported. According to Van Zyl, it is much safer to keep your pets inside the house, rather than leaving them outside at all times.

8. Join a neighbourhood watch

Joining a neighbourhood watch is one of the most convenient ways to protect yourself. Neighbourhood watches offer quick response to crime alerts and will often patrol your home while you’re away. If you suspect any suspicious activity in your area, you can also alert the police.

To joint the WSRNW, contact Frik van Zyl on 082 581 9223.

Do you have any more budget-friendly security tips? Email them to the Record at [email protected]

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Khanyisile Molaba

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