In 2020/2021 “an estimated 1,0 million incidences of housebreaking occurred, affecting 809 000 households in South Africa,” reports Statistics South Africa. These numbers are a reminder that South Africans need to stay vigilant about crime.
According to the Governance, Public Safety, and Justice Survey, 2020/21 (GPSJS) report released by Statistics SA in February, his number represents 4,6 percent of all households in the country. Most crimes occurred in the Western Cape. 6,7 percent of the overall house breaking crimes occured in the Western Cape.
Interestingly, the report found an overall decrease in the amount of crime in the country. The decline in crime is attributed in part to lockdowns instituted by the government at the start of the pandemic.
Many people have sought out homes in gated communities in order to stay safe; however, the number of home invitations are increasing in these “secure” places as well.
“We do have a problem particularly in the security complexes around here… We are sitting here wondering how it happens because it is a secure complex,” says Elias Mawela, Gauteng Police Commissioner.
Speaking to news channel ENCA security expert Rory Stein said the increase in the levels of home invitations could be attributed to high levels of desperation driven by the pandemic.
“If people have guards and gates and electric alarms it’s because there is something worth protecting and people will now go to extremes in order to defeat those.”
While no method is completely foolproof, there are ways to improve your home security and reduce the chances of a home burglary in your home.
The most important thing is to conceal your valuables. As Rory Stein said, criminals will go where they think they can find something worth protecting. Ensure that you have blinds and curtains that hide any valuable things you might have. Keeping your car in a hidden place will also deter car thieves from trying to steal it.
According to Wiki How, having a dog, or giving the illusion of having one can also act as a deterrent.
“Even if you don’t own a dog, set a couple of (empty) dog bowls near your front step to further convince potential intruders that you own a dog.”
Should something happen and you find yourself in the middle of a home invasion, Blue Security, a South African home security company recommends staying prepared.
According to Blue Security, “ensure your panic buttons are installed in accessible areas and that your children can also reach them. Show them where the panic buttons are located and explain how they work, so they are familiar with the process in case of an emergency.”
Finally, use your common sense. Don’t leave doors or gates unlocked. Avoid leaving boxes of expensive purchases in plain sight and never leave a just-in-case key under your mat or in a pot plant.