Property and neighbourhood related crimes, such as robberies and theft, are growing problems across many communities.
The 2016 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) showed that an average of 675.5 houses were burgled in the country each day.
The stats also showed that 148 people are robbed each day with theft out of a motor vehicle happening, on average, 283 times per day. Many of these crimes tend to happen in your neighbourhood.
These stats may seem bleak, but it has triggered a greater sense of community involvement. More and more neighbourhoods are starting neighbourhood watches, resident patrol groups and upping their community awareness.
This is evident on many social community platforms as communications primarily focus on safety and security.
And while security is at the forefront of our minds, it is vital to consider the most valuable safety neighbourhood assets, and the most vulnerable – the people who stay home during the day.
Many stay-at-home moms and dads, domestic staff, senior citizens and residents who work from home are often vulnerable to neighbourhood crime during the day when the area is quiet and largely unoccupied.
Here are a few safety tips for people at home during the day:
It may be cliché but do not open the door for strangers. Often criminals pose as municipal or service department officials or have a “sales pitch” to get you to open the door or access your home.
Invest in a peep hole or camera system so that you can see who is at the door.
Never allow anyone onto the property or indoors unless they have an appointment or if they have a legitimate reason to be there. Make sure you let your domestic staff know if anybody is expected so they know who to allow in.
Ask for proper identification from delivery persons or strangers. Do not be afraid of asking, if they are legitimate they will not mind. If they provide identification and you still feel unsafe, it is okay to deny access. Let them know you calling someone else to confirm their presence.
Never become complacent with security. Lock all doors and other access points, even if you’re at home. Many criminals look for simple ways to access a home. Don’t make it easy for them.
Install lock latches or safety gates if you prefer to let the breeze roll in. Burglar bars on windows also act as a deterrent.
Staying connected with your neighbours, family and employer is important. Join OurHood and other neighbourhood communication channels to keep in touch with what’s happening in your community. Be aware of any suspicious activity reported and don’t hesitate to report anything.
Make sure you have the security company, police, neighbourhood watch or any other security authority on speed dial.
Stay in contact with your family or friends throughout the day so that they can know you’re safe. Regular interaction will make it easier for the people close to you to identify when you’re in trouble.
Reports suggest that criminals can spend up to two weeks monitoring a property before approaching the target.
Changing up your routine regularly will make it less noticeable that you’re alone. This could also give criminals the idea that your home is unpredictable. Mixing up times when you leave or arrive home, and rearranging schedules are effective crime deterrents.
While your home is your sanctuary, it is important to stay vigilant. Don’t be too distracted to makes sure the doors are locked or alarm set.
If you have a bad feeling about a person or situation, report it and let your neighbours know. Prevention is better than trying to defend yourself.
Share information, safety tips and updates, and stay informed about your neighbourhood.
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Your friendly neighbours at OurHood