The holiday season is here, and you might be looking forward to your time off from work or a festive vacation. But, have you thought of protecting your home while being away or being busy with your festive celebrations?
From keeping a keen eye to installing security gates and upgrading your security system, you can do several things to keep your loved ones and yourself safe this festive season.
Rising crimes raise the bars for safety
According to a crime stats 2019 report, there has been an increase in crime rate in South Africa. Violent crimes and armed robberies are on the rise, according to the report.
There is no exact information on December crime stats in South Africa related to burglary and robbery. But there is crime information reported based on the annual crime report released by South Africa Police Service (SAPS) that shows that crimes have increased. According to this data, house robberies, including those leading to “aggravating circumstances,” are on the rise.
Specifically, robberies at residential premises that were 22,261 in 2018 have gone to 22,431 in 2019. Crimes of robbery with aggravating consequences have increased to 140,032 in 2019 from 138,364 in 2018. Crimes of house burglary are at 220,865 in 2019. Non-residential burglary shows an increase to 71,224 from 71,195 in 2018. Crimes of car hijackings are at 16,026 in 2019.
Adding to these general statistics is the recent launch of the National Safer Festive Season initiative by SAPS to drastically reduce the increasing crime rate, including violent and transport crimes in the nation. As part of the initiative, police would be deployed at high-risk areas, including shopping centres, popular tourist and festive destinations and border posts.
The police have announced strict action against people indulging in excess substance abuse and alcohol over the festive season. The force has also issued a strict word of caution to parents against leaving their children unattended during festive shopping. The police launched a citizen security app to coincide with the festive season. Citizens can use the app to report crimes.
The statistics and the elaborate safety measures by the police are indicative of the rising crimes in the nation, especially around the festive season. Robbery and burglary tend to increase during the festive season as homeowners go on a holiday or celebrate outdoors in the festive spirit, leaving their doors and windows open.
While the police have its precautions in place for the festive season, you can, as a responsible citizen, do your best to prevent such crimes.
Whether you are going on a holiday or simply want to celebrate at home, here are a few safety tips you would want to follow this December to protect your family and your property:
Install security gates
Robust security gates are your first effective barrier against crimes. High-quality security gates deter criminal activity by making it difficult for them to enter your premises. Even in case of an unfortunate intrusion, you’ll have precious minutes to your advantage to decide your next course of action.
Security gates are available in several varieties differing in their levels of protection and convenience. There are hinged gates, retractable security gates and sliding types, among others. Choose one, in consultation with the installer, the one that best suits your security needs.
Invest in a high-quality security system
Security gates offer excellent basic protection. But if you are going to be away on holiday during the festive season, then a high-quality security system is a must.
Depending on the size of your property, you may want to create a strong line of defence with security equipment such as burglar alarms, biometrics and CCTVs. If you have a large property such as an estate property, then perimeter fencing, motion sensor cameras and infra-red beams may be necessary. Connect all your security devices to a centralised location that can be controlled either automatically or manually.
Modern security systems come with remote controlling capabilities, which should enable you to monitor safety from anywhere in the world.
Choose a reputed security company for installation. The company should ideally perform a threat assessment by studying your property to understand the type of security system that would be right for you.
Do not your switch off your security system
In case you already have a security system in place, then use it as you would be during any other time of the year. Just because it is the festive season and you might be staying at home more or would be on vacation does not mean your security system should stop working. In fact, you need the equipment more during the festive season.
If you are calling in guests, then discourage them from parking their vehicles on the pavement to prevent car hijackings. Park your vehicles in the garage and consider fortifying the place with strong garage doors.
Upgrade your defence
If any of your existing security equipment is damaged or not working, attend to it immediately. In many cases, crimes can be prevented before anything disastrous happens with a solid first-line defence. Examine your doors and windows for damages and have them repaired or replaced at the earliest.
Slam-locks, burglar bars and window grills and shutters are some types of solid security elements that you should strongly consider installing.
The key to good defence is to not go complacent regarding security.
Guard your garden and garage
A poorly-guarded garden and garage can become leverage for criminals. Easy access to garage tools and landscape equipment such as ladders and garden tools can give criminals easy entry indoors.
Strengthen your garage with solid doors and locks. Up the security in your garden with good but strategic lighting and automated trespass alerts.
Avoid putting up “We Are Away” signs on your property
Signs such as an over-flowing mailbox, a neighbour’s vehicle in your driveway, and a quiet and unlit building are dead giveaways of occupants being away. Avoid these signs as much as possible.
Have a friend pick your mail regularly. Leave lights in the building while going for work or on a vacation. Turn on a music system using timer settings to create an impression that the house is occupied. You could also have a trusted person attend to your garden in your absence to deter trespassers with criminal intentions.
Your festive vacation will be more fun and peaceful when you know that your property and assets are safe and intact.