Security group ADT Fidelity has warned of an ‘alarming rise’ in house robberies across the Johannesburg region.
The group recorded 29 incidents in the North of Johannesburg for the month of January alone, with Bryanston, Sunninghill and Paulshof recording the highest numbers of house robberies and armed robberies.
There was a marked increase in house robberies in January compared to December.
In December, there were 10 house robberies and 3 armed robberies with most robberies taking place on a Tuesday or Thursday during the day. In January, there were 18 reported house robberies and 11 armed robberies, with a change in modus operandi to taking place on Monday, Friday or Saturday during the day, it said.
Josh Nel, Bryanston branch manager for Fidelity ADT, said the greatest concern is that most of these incidents have involved armed suspects targeting employees at residences.
“We can see that in a number of instances the gardener will be working outside, they are either forced to open the gate if it is locked, or if it not locked, they forcibly gain access. Fortunately, these criminals appear to be opportunistic criminals, there for the easy pickings – but there is always the worry of personal injury,” he said.
“In our experience, we have found that security measures like electric fences, detection beams and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) are still key deterrents to crime, as are pets. For homeowners, small dogs that sleep inside the house are seen as a deterrent.”
Neighbourhood security is also a meaningful factor, Nel said. If robbers are scouting carefully, they will view regular patrol and a strong neighbourhood watch system as a good reason to move on, he said.
Nel said that residents should also consider creating a safe word for their staff to alert them to any problems and ensure that they have a good understanding of your home security system.
“It is equally important that domestic staff always keep security gates or doors locked – they may not hear an intruder over the noise of the vacuum or know that someone has entered the house while they are in the backyard. The alarm system must always be armed when they leave the house; even if it is only for a few minutes.”
“The bottom line is you always need to remain vigilant. Act as if you are being watched and take all necessary precautions. Your security starts with having the right security measures around your home,” he said.
The latest Victims of Crime (VoC) survey shows just over a million households experienced housebreaking/burglary over the last year, but just 56.1% reported the incident to the police.
Similarly, 55.9% of 141,000 violent home robberies were reported, and just 50.6% of 56,000 cases of assault were reported.
According to the latest crime stats published by the South African Police Service, there were 5,760 house robberies reported between October and December 2021, most of which took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.
Burglaries – theft that takes place without threat of violence or when homeowners are not there – at home are far more common, with the SAPS recording 39,692 cases over the same period.
Read: Crime in South Africa – what the official statistics don’t tell you