Housebreakings are the most common crime experienced by households in South Africa.
Our home experienced an invasion during the festive of 2019 and it was the most traumatising experience although we slept throughout and woke up to our possessions being taken. The idea of someone/people having walk through and been in our space was the most horrific feeling.
According to the Governance, Public Safety, and Justice Survey (GPSJS) 2019/20 report released by Statistics South Africa, an estimated 1,2 million incidences of housebreaking took place in the 2019/2020 period, affecting 891 000 households in South Africa. That means 5,3% of all households in the country were broken into with housebreakings peaking in June, September, and December of the same period.
When the crime takes place with the occupants of the home inside it is called a “Home robbery” and is classified as a violent crime. Housebreaking (burglary) on the other hand happens while the family is away from the home. An estimated 169 000 home robberies occurred in 2019/2020, affecting 139 000 households – representing 0,8% of all households. On a positive note, statistics show a continuous decline in home robberies between 2015/16 (506 000) and 2019/20 (415 000).
This December housebreakings are expected to continue to peak. With this in mind, we have teamed up with the folks at Builders Warehouse to create awareness and share some insights on home security systems and gadgets to help protect your home and family from house robberies this festive season.
While it’s not 100% possible to burglar-proof your home, says Builders Warehouse Security Experts and Buyer, Candice Melless says, “the harder you make it to gain access to your home the more chances are that you will not be a target.”
Recently, I came across an interesting study by Professor Rudolph Zinn, Forensic and Crime Investigation lecturer at UNISA. In his study, Professor Zinn interviewed 30 convicted and incarcerated criminals to gather useful data and information for the South African Police department and homeowners like myself.
Here are some of Prof Zinn’s findings;
- Almost all burglaries are committed by young men between the ages of 19 and 26 and they typically travel in groups of four or fewer.
- House Burglars are experienced criminals.
- 70% of the criminals he interviewed come from broken/dysfunctional homes.
- All were willing to use violence.
- The main motivation is economic gain with 65% being spent on cars, clothes, drugs and alcohol.
- Burglary victims are targeted because of their apparent wealth.
- The race is not taken into consideration when they choose their victims.
- Housebreaking is chosen over other types of crime because there’s more money, fast money and minimum risk.
How They Choose Their Targets
- 63% said they prefer to travel a distance of about 10 and 30 minutes by vehicle from the home base, but we’re not averse to travelling further if the potential gains were high.
- 77% stated they chose targets based on inside information – there also seems to be a subset of criminals who specialise in extracting information from unsuspecting domestic workers, service providers, etc…
- Targets with multiple entries and exit points are preferred as well as those with easy access to main roads.
- 75% of perpetrators said they targeted homes based on good information or suspicions of a high-value steal.
Melless notes that some of the most common methods used by burglars to gain access into homes are by either forcing gates open, breaking windows, security gates, and also using areas that have been left unattended like an open door or window and tailgating through electric gates.
Planning and Preparations
- All participants indicated that they always did some type of surveillance.
- 57% preferred to attack between 7 pm and 12 pm when residents were at home, with alarms disabled and noise from TVs and radios to give a level of cover and a good chance of a surprise attack.
We asked Melless for some extra security tips for us ladies and she advised that we not only Implement as many of the following security measures as possible;
- Electric fencing, for early intruder detection.
- Motion sensors.
- Outdoor security cameras.
- Security gates. “I would also recommend installing a trusted brand of security barrier like an Xpanda Alugide gates on all openings of your home.”
- Burglar bars
- Internal cameras and an alarm system that is connected to your smartphone so you can be notified of any suspicious activity and can detect movement inside your home.
- Lock away your valuables in a secure safe that is in a secret location.
And to continuously be aware of our surroundings and watch your gate close to ensure no one has got in behind you.
If you require extra security or are unsure about the level of your current security systems are enough to keep your home and family safe this festive season, I encourage you to head to your nearest Builders and speak to one of their in-house security experts.
Builders are also currently running some fantastic specials on security gadgets such as these.
Check Builders Security Features Here:
Here’s the link to the Space we hosted around home security: