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Take proactive steps to protect your assets as crime increases

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Numbeo 2021 Crime Index rates South Africa as the third most dangerous country in the world to live in, with six cities featuring in the top 20 most dangerous cities globally. The survey is a perception index based on respondents’ feelings around safety rather than actual crime statistics. However, statistics show that these respondents have just cause for their fears.

After a lull in crime during the initial lockdown last year, crime statistics in the second quarter showed an 8.5% increase with Minister of Police, Bheki Cele saying that criminals were trying to make up for time lost during the “crime holiday” in the first quarter of 2020.

Bianca de Beer of Dialdirect says the insurer’s research during lockdown level three (introduced shortly before 1 January) shows that while some criminals seemed to observe the 9pm curfew restricting their crimes to earlier times, others took advantage of the curfew to step up their criminal activity.

The Dialdirect research showed an increase in cars being stolen in the evenings from 4pm to 5am the next day. While home break-ins and burglaries typically occurred between 9pm and 5am pre-lockdown, these incidents seemed to shift to the hours between 4pm and 9pm this year.

“Authorities keep reminding us that Covid-19 is not on holiday. This research tells us that criminals are not on holiday either. People need to remain vigilant and take all safety precautions to avoid becoming a crime statistic,” she says.

De Beer outlined the following safety tips.

Home security

  • A sturdy perimeter wall or palisade fence offers privacy and acts as your first line of defence.
  • Ideally, your access gates and garage doors should be able to operate remotely. It’s important that these access gates can be opened and closed quickly to limit the window of opportunity for criminals. 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 offers an extra security barrier and serves as a further deterrent to criminals. Make sure yours is installed by a certified professional and according to electric fence compliance regulations.
  • Security beams around your home and inside your home should be set up in such a way that different zones can be activated as needed. This serves as an early warning system.
  • Link your security system to a reputable armed response company and ask for a panic button on your remote control linked to the alarm system.
  • CCTV systems are becoming increasingly affordable and offer an easy way for you to keep an eye on your property. You can even monitor your home remotely via a smartphone app. This can provide valuable footage if your home is broken into.

Avoid vehicle theft by:

  • Parking your car in a well-lit area.
  • Keeping all parcels and valuable items out of sight.
  • Installing a good alarm system and immobiliser.
  • Fitting a vehicle-tracking device.
  • Repairing broken windows or locks timeously.
  • Checking that your car is securely locked and you have not fallen prey to remote jamming.

De Beer says if your car is stolen, you need to:

  1. Immediately call your tracking company to report the theft if you have a vehicle-tracking device installed.
  2. Report it to the SAPS and file a stolen vehicle report within 48 hours.
  3. Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, colour, vehicle identification and registration number available to assist with the identification and recovery of the vehicle.
  4. Report your claim to your insurance company. If your vehicle is stolen after hours, call your insurer on the next working day.

“While crime is more prevalent in certain areas and within certain hours, you should be taking these safety precautions at all times, in all areas. Being pro-active can help you keep yourself and your family safe, while also protecting your assets,” De Beer concludes.