Claims data from insurer, Dialdirect, indicates that car theft and hijackings are occurring at the same pace as they were pre-lockdown and home robberies are also starting to rise.
Dialdirect noted that the majority of home robberies are taking place through forced entry and is concerned about the rising occurrence of theft of portable possessions such as mobile phones and jewellery.
“Many South Africans are starting see the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel and regaining some of the freedom they enjoyed before the Covid-19 crisis,” said Bianca de Beer from Dialdirect Insurance.
“Yet, one must bear in mind that, just like honest, hardworking South Africans, criminals are also under increasing pressure to make ends meet and see the easing of restrictions as an opportunity to pounce.”
Dialdirect provides the following crime prevention tips for advanced level 3 lockdown safety:
- Remember, first and foremost, that criminals who are willing to confront a home’s occupants are generally more brazen and more likely to be armed. Avoid a direct confrontation at all costs.
- Make sure that you have as many lines of security as possible in place for example, a sturdy perimeter wall that not only offers privacy, but also acts as a first line of defence.
- Driveways are already a prime hijacking hotspot and, with more people working from home, criminals have a better window of opportunity to strike.
- Ensure that gates can’t be lifted off their rails and that gate motors are well hidden and can’t be accessed easily.
- An electric fence that offers an extra security barrier and serves as a further deterrent to criminals. Be sure to check for vulnerable spots where the fence can be bypassed.
- Install burglar bars on windows and security gates on all doors.
- It’s wise to link your security system to a reputable armed response company and to have a panic button linked to this system as well.
- CCTV systems are becoming increasingly affordable and offer an easy way for you to keep an eye on your property – often even remotely via a smartphone app.
- With your work setup at home, criminals will see you as a more valuable target. Take special precaution not to leave high value items in full view.
- Criminals posing as officials remains a concern. Always schedule and keep track of official appointments. Add an intercom system or cameras for an extra layer of security. Ask for identification and verify this with officials’ employers. Inform your domestic worker/ caretaker that anyone who arrives unannounced, cannot be given access. Avoid leaving mail, old bills, boxes of newly purchased goods and documentation containing personal information within reach of passers-by.
On the Road
- When out exercising, always be aware of your surroundings. Look for any suspicious activity. Don’t explore a new route when you’re alone.
- Exercising in large groups may not be allowed, but it’s wise to arrange with fellow joggers in your neighbourhood to run at more or less the same time so that they can assist in emergency.
- Carry as few valuables as possible and make sure that those you do carry are well hidden.
- It’s wise to invest in a mobile panic button, or to have an emergency app on your phone that allows you to easily connect to, and share your location with, emergency services.
- If possible, join your neighbourhood group that keeps an eye out for suspicious activity and sends instant alerts.
- Identify homes along your route that have intercom systems that you could ring for help in an emergency.
- Check with your local security company to make sure that they have patrols in the area where you’ll be jogging. It’s a valuable added layer of security.
- When it comes to your car, ensure that it is properly secured and is equipped with anti-theft devices like an alarm system, gear lock, steering lock and tracking device.