“Five home security mistakes you’re probably making right now”
When it comes to home security in South Africa – we need to be vigilant. Despite being a security conscious nation, our crime statistics are harrowing. Home robberies, invasions and attacks happen all too frequently. Research conducted by the Human Science Research Council concluded that 34% of South Africans feel unsafe on most days. And it’s not surprising considering that most recent crime statistics point to an increase in murder and housebreaking.
The average criminal is an opportunist. Looking for the easiest and most profitable residence. If your residence looks like Fort Knox, they’ll move on to the easier target. Sometimes, we inadvertently make it easier for them.
Some common home security mistakes:
1) There are tools outside
While many robbers do carry their own tools and weapons, those that don’t will thank you for the large spade you left outside. Any tool that can be used to break the barriers of your home should be kept indoors, securely locked away. Another often overlooked danger is loose bricks, paving or large rocks. Thieves find these good for breaking windows!
2) You share your holiday plans online
While your garden variety opportunistic thief may not be sophisticated enough to watch your online movements, those hoping for a giant haul will look for evidence that you’re away. Some thieves will watch your daily movements, check your mail or look for clues that you will be away for a while. Rather leave things like #FabulousHoliday and #GoneForWeeksWoohoo until you’re home.
3) You haven’t updated your home insurance in a while
Whenever you make any large purchases you need to update your home insurance. Have you added all your recently purchased big ticket items? The South African Insurance Association advises checking that your policies are up to date and all your premiums paid up. Familiarise yourself with conditions and check if your policy requires any specific security measures to be taken.
4) You have valuables visible from your windows
You may have cleverly disguised your flat screen, but your jewellery box is easy to spot. If a criminal can reach anything of value without even entering a home – it’s the holy grail of housebreaking. That sweet iPhone you put on the windowsill? Your Rolex on the bedside table? From personal experience – thieves will get mighty creative in an attempt to reach for valuables through a window!
5) You don’t have your neighbours phone number
Everybody needs good neighbours especially South Africans. Get to know your neighbours beyond a morning hello. Being able to call for help, or to warn of suspicious activity could save your lives.
Why not create a home security checklist that you (and the family) can implement together. There are numerous comprehensive checklists online, or you can make your own.
Being victim to a home invasion, robbery or attack can be a traumatic experience that will change the way you think about home safety forever. For more safety tips have a look at the SAPS ACT Crime Prevention booklet, available online for free. It details further steps you can take to ensure your family and possessions are safe from harm.