Home invasions have become a very real concern in South Africa. Regrettably, they happen frequently, to the point that they rarely make the news any more.
Let’s look at how we can feel safe and secure in our home by creating a safe living place.
Here are some thoughts on how you can improve household safety:
- Consider a variety of safety measures, such as an alarm system, an electric fence, a dog, and burglar bars. Locked doors, motion sensors and general vigilance will all help to ensure that nobody gets in.
- Speak to your security company regarding your security system. Warning sounds if a window or door has been opened are a great addition to your home security setup. They’re cheap and easy to install.
- Installing panic buttons in the bedroom, close to the front door and in the most often used rooms in your home. Once a panic button is activated, help will come in the form of your armed response company.
- Know the response times of your security company and SAPS in your area
- Identify escape routes and potential hiding spots: discuss and show these to your family members.
- Rehearse a home invasion, just as you would a fire.
- Ensure that you know which emergency numbers to call – SAPS and your security company. Save the numbers in all cell phones, and keep the numbers next to your landline phones.
- Use a peephole. Sometimes home invaders will post as a public official or a maintenance team. Don’t open the door to a complete stranger.
- Don’t open the security gate, gate or door to someone without checking their identification document. Then call the organisation concerned to find out if they are genuine.
- Breaking windows and forcing locks on gates and doors are two very common ways that criminals can gain access into your home. Ensure that windows have strong burglar bars and that all doors and gates are fitted with strong locks. This could reduce your chances of a home invasion.
- Make sure that the street number on your house is large, well-lit and unobstructed so that emergency personnel can find your home quickly when needed.
- Try to reduce foliage and bushes in your driveway as these are good hiding spots for burglars.
- Test your alarm once a month. Don’t forget to inform your security company that you are testing the alarm.
- Keep your front and back doors locked at all times.
- Have a digital record of your valuable possessions. If, in the unfortunate event, you are burgled, you will have proof of what you owned, when it comes to making an insurance claim.
- Consider requesting a home security assessment from your preferred security company.
Useful telephone numbers
SAPS – South African Police Service Emergency Number: 10111
Crime Stop – report criminal actilvity anonymously: 08600 10111
Mobile phone emergency number: 112