Burglars are increasingly using domestic workers as part of their targeting strategy. Of that there is little doubt anymore following numerous media reports on the matter, as well as testimony from those who have been incarcerated for house breaking.
Unofficial statistics suggest that at least 75% of robbers who target residential premises do so based on solid information about the value of a potential haul – irrespective of the security of the premises. Which begs the question, who could spill the beans regarding the content of your home?
Back in 2009 a story made headlines, detailing an account of burglary according to which two men gained access to a security complex by pretending to be service providers. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of two domestic workers who were in possession of some of the stolen items.
Round about the same time Professor Rudolph Zinn (UNISA) released a study based on feedback from more than 30 convicted individuals who had robbed residential premises at some point during their criminal careers. (Interestingly, the study suggests that house robbery is something that is “worked up to”, indicating that these individuals are highly experienced.)
Of those questioned, roughly 24 said that they target homes based on good information – not only from domestic employees, mind, but also from service providers you wouldn’t think about twice once they leave your home (think: repair men, plumbers, painters, etc.).
Then there are those criminal minds who don’t necessarily partake in the robberies as such, but tend to specialise in extracting information from domestic workers and service providers. Contrary what you may immediately imagine, the extraction process may be as simple as a seemingly innocuous question in a safe environment. After all, as humans we’re more willing to divulge information when there are no noticeable threats.
Which is why domestic polygraph testing is becoming more relevant.
It’s a sub-category of polygraph testing aimed at discovering whether an individual familiar with a domestic premises has, at any time in the past, disclosed information about the premises or its occupants which may put them in harm’s way. The test goes further to establish whether the individual has any ties with criminal syndicates or other criminal groups.
It’s needless to say that domestic polygraph testing does not extend to service providers. Nevertheless, actively validating the trust vested in domestic employees will go a long way to ensure the safety of the home environment and strengthening relationships. This is becoming increasingly relevant in a country where unemployment is rising, where the economy is dipping, and where drought is expected to drive food prices through the roof.