House robbers are typically aged between 19 and 26 and have spent a lot of time gaining the needed experience to be successful. This experience is often put to good use over the festive season when there’s no one at home, or when the presents under your Christmas tree appear to have some financial value. Here are a couple of tips to help you better protect your home and loved ones this festive season.
Close your curtains by 7pm
A study by Professor Rudolph Zinn found that most house robberies occur between 7pm and midnight. Many house robbers will observe a premises for 30 minutes before they attack (unless, of course, they have access to inside information supplied by a domestic worker or a service provider), which means it’s a good idea to restrict visibility into your home, especially from the street.
Lower the TV volume
It’s during these hours when you’re at home, when alarms are disabled and the noise of the TV obscures the sound of say, a lock being broken. By dialling down the volume of the TV or, if you have them, letting the dog(s) roam freely throughout the house you’ll be able to hear when trouble is coming.
Secure the garage
According to the study many house robbers will use the garage as an entry point into your home for the very simply reason that they’re more than likely to find all the tools they’ll need for their criminal enterprise right there. Sensors and an alarm in the garage can provide advanced warning of unlawful entry into your premises.
Get armed response
South Africa has one of the highest concentration of security companies. These companies make a habit of patrolling neighbourhoods throughout the night, which means assistance is never far away. (Plus, they’re often on the scene in no time flat, especially when the panic button has been pressed).
Clear your garden
Bushes, rusty old boxes or cars or any other visual obstruction can give house robbers the perfect hiding spot in your garden. With a clear view of your garden and a security lighting system you’ll be able to see intruders come in time to raise the alarm.
Invest in wind chimes
Although wind chimes aren’t listed in Prof. Zinn’s study, I can attest to their efficacy as another type of early warning system. Hung low enough in dark corridors behind or to the side of your home, you’ll easily hear when someone bumps into them. (There’s a marked difference to them being blown by the wind, and being bumped into by a person).
Designate a secure room
So you’ve realised that someone is trying to gain entry into your home. Now what? A designated secure room with multiple locks on the inside can provide refuge until help arrives. Ensure that there’s a dedicated panic button and/or mobile phone in the room, as well as contact details of the police, armed response company, your neighbours and / or neighbourhood watch.
Keep your neighbourhood’s streets clean
On a final note, it pays to keep the streets of your neighbourhood clean. A confirmed targeting strategy used by house robbers is to strategically place a single piece of rubbish in front of a house to mark that house. By picking up stray bits of rubbish in your immediate area, you may just preventing a robbery from taking place.