Safety is a universal need that often confronts humanity in various spheres of life. The attainment of decent levels of safety is constantly in conflict with escalating crime levels, especially in South Africa. Household crimes are usually committed while individuals and families are away, which is why it’s important for homeowners to understand the common household crimes and arm themselves with knowledge on how to beef up security while away.
Household crime stats
Recent crime statistics released by Stats SA for the period 2019/20 revealed that about 169 000 incidences of home robberies were recorded which affected approximately 139 000 households. This represents 0,8% of all households in the country. A spike of household crimes from 2,1 million in 2015/16 to 2,3 million in 2019/20 shows that home safety should be a priority for all.
What are the most common household crimes?
Larceny is the unlawful taking of someone’s personal property in order to deprive the owner of its use. Larceny can be grand or petty larceny. The difference between the two is the value of the property involved. This type of crime often occurs with goods which are left lying around the property.
Burglary on the other hand involves illegally entering a property or premises without the consent of the owner with the intention to commit a crime or steal.
Robbery is a serious crime which involves the use of force to enter a property and taking possession of goods through violent means which is normally done using a gun or an assortment of weapons.
How can you ensure safety while you are away?
Set the alarm system
An effective alarm system will assist you with not only scaring off (possible) potential intruders but also to alert you and the relevant security service providers about any home invasion attempts. If you have a private security company, it’s a good idea to alert them of your plans to travel before you leave home.
Set timers on lights
Lights are a major security measure. You should consider putting in place motion-sensor flood lights which detect any strange movements around the perimeter of your home and automatically turn on and off. These will not only scare off thieves but will save you some money on energy bills.
Stop newspapers and other deliveries
Deliveries can send a signal to thieves who are looking for the next home to rob. You can put a pause on newspaper deliveries and other mails to avoid them pilling up by the mail box and sending an away signal to would-be thieves.
Lawn care before you leave
Depending on how close your home is to the nearest street and the level of visibility, a poorly maintained lawn or garden in a meticulously clean neighbourhood can point to something off about your home. Take time to make sure overgrown tree branches and the garden lawn is attended to before you leave to avoid attracting unnecessary attention.
Lock doors and windows
Windows and doors are easy gateways for thieves but they also stop animal from entering your homes as well as damaging rains and wind. Make sure they are properly locked before you leave. If any of the locks are malfunctioning, be sure to replace them. As you leave, shut down all window blinds behind you.
Limit what you post online
Your online activities and updates can lead to serious security breaches. Posting your travel plans and every move you make on social media pages might be interesting to your family and friends but that’s a huge invitation to criminals. You will do yourself a favour by limiting your online activities.
A CCTV camera system will assist you with keeping a 24/7 surveillance on your home and activities around your property. You should make sure your CCTV system is as conspicuous as possible. You should also opt for a camera system which can be connected to your mobile phone so that you can view live video remotely. This will assist you with seeing and detecting irregular activity around your home.
Switch off water pipes and electrical appliances
While thieves are the biggest worry when you are away, do not underestimate the power of electricity and water. To avoid sparking a fire, switch off all electrical appliances from the wall sockets. Switch off all water taps, especially leaking taps, as a preventive measure. This will also help you with reducing your energy and water bills.
Lock up valuables
Valuables like jewellery and tech gadgets are the first things intruders look for. Don’t leave them lying around your home. Put them in a safe or hide them in unusual places like the kitchen pantry or bathroom closet.
Disengage your garage door opener
Automated gates can be such an easy way to access your home. Most automated gates can be opened by using a universal remote. To prevent thieves from accessing your home through your automated gates, disengage and use a manual lock.
The measures listed above if well implemented will assist you to keep your home safe while you are away.
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