‘Secure your home, valuables’

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BE WARY: House break-ins are common in SA.

THE importance of home insurance has been underlined by crime statistics which revealed that about 61 households are robbed while 676 houses are burgled every day in South Africa.

SAPS crime statistics released last week showed that 22 343 robberies and 246 654 burglaries were recorded in 2016-17. “These statistics are alarming. An average of 61 households robbed and 676 households burgled every day.

That’s only taking into account the incidents that are reported to the authorities,” Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for insurance brand Virseker, said. “We urge South Africans to be more vigilant than ever in making sure their homes are as secure as possible, not only to protect their valuables, but also themselves and their loved ones.”

Research by Prof Rudolph Zinn from Unisa’s School of Criminal Justice and Police Practice who conducted in-depth interviews with 30 convicted robbers revealed key insights on who these criminals are and how they operate.

“Most of these robbers were males in their early 20s. They typically work in groups of four. On average, each perpetrator admitted to having committed 103 crimes. Their main motivation was economic gain and they select their targets based on wealth and how lucrative a crime would be.

“The majority of criminals said they had inside information, often from domestic workers, gardeners or security guards. All perpetrators said they would spend quite some time prior to the attack doing surveillance of their target.

Low security and the availability of escape routes are key factors, but criminals will take on any target if they see it as valuable enough,” the report said. Zinn said the best solution was an integrated approach with various security measures, as opposed to relying on a single layer of security.

This includes having small dogs inside the house that can alert you to an intruder, installing an electric fence on the perimeter of your property, installing an alarm system with sensors to warn you, employing an armed response service, installing security lights that switch on when movement is detected, installing CCTV cameras and an intercom system, having panic buttons on hand or installed where you are most likely to need them and thoroughly screening domestic workers, gardeners, security guards and others who have access to the property.

“Despite our best preventative efforts, these crimes still happen so it’s vital to ensure that you have adequate insurance for all your household contents and to double check that you will be covered to replace these items with similar, brand new ones,” Twilley said.

According to statistics by the SAPS, property-related crime experienced a decrease of 0.5% in 2016-17. This follows upon decreases of 1.8% and 0.8% during the two preceding financial years.

NTOMBI NKOSI  ntombin@thenewage.co.za

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