Raise your security bar this festive season

Don’t let your guard down this holiday; prioritise security precautions and ensure your valuables are appropriately insured.

Michelle Wolmarans

Michelle Wolmarans

Managing Director - NFB Insurance Brokers

Connect with this author

Raise your security bar this festive season

It’s no surprise that the festive season brings with it an increase in crime. Homes are left unattended as the country migrates to the beach, holiday house doors and windows are left open to enjoy the pleasant December weather; it’s easy to get careless with security as we relax into the holiday season.

But after the festive break, where we’ve probably overspent and overindulged, the last thing you want have to deal with is the emotional and financial stress of a break-in. So we’ve put together a few tips to help you and your family keep safe at this time of year.

What are the crime facts?

First, it’s useful to know a few key facts about crime in South Africa. These insights come from Dr Rudolph Zinn from UNISA's School of Criminal Justice, who interviewed convicted robbers for his research, and crimestatssa.co.za, an online application for reported crimes in the country.

  • Eight out of 10 residential robberies are committed with the help of information from domestic workers, gardeners and former employees
  • Most attacks occur between 19:00 and midnight as security systems are not yet activated. Robberies can continue until 04:00
  • 97% of robbers are armed
  • An average of 30% of all house robbers have either committed murder, or won't hesitate to commit murder
  • Most victims or targets are affluent persons who openly display their wealth, for example by wearing expensive jewellery.

These statistics paint a scary picture. What’s worse, the average robber commits 103 robberies over seven years before getting caught; the conviction rate for house robberies in South Africa is only 7.7% versus 53% in the US).

Is there anything that puts burglars off?

Most of us are comforted by our alarms and armed reaction services but robbers report that they are not deterred by such protection. What really thwarts them are electric fences, detection beams, CCTV and the biggest obstacle of all: small dogs that sleep inside the house. An effective and visible neighbourhood watch can also prove off-putting.

What additional precautions can you take?

But you can’t rely on these security measures alone. There’s plenty you could be doing to make your home as safe as possible.

  • Make sure all foliage is trimmed back so a burglar cannot conceal themselves while attempting to open a window or door. If possible, plant bushes with prickly thorns around these locations.
  • Don't leave anything lying around that might help a burglar get into your house. Ladders, outside furniture, stackable boxes or any garden tools should be put away.
  • Secure all windows, even those on higher storeys
  • Spread grease on any metal drainpipes if they are close to windows to discourage potential climbers. Use Vaseline or clear automotive grease, depending on the colour of the pipe (or replace with a plastic pipe).
  • Make sure your post box is always empty. A full post box makes it seem like you are never home.
  • Test your alarm system on a regular basis to ensure that it is in working order, especially if you are going to be away for a while.
  • Employ a house sitter to stay at your house if you are going away on holiday – an occupied house is a strong deterrent to criminals.
  • When at home, deviate from your usual routine regularly; robbers can watch your movements for as long as two weeks so leaving and returning home at different times, using different routes and visiting different shops can be an effective way to lower your risk of being a target.
  • Take extreme care when hiring domestic workers and other service providers; be careful who you let into your home.

Finally, we highly recommend you insure your valuable belongings. You can take all the precautions in the world and still become a victim of crime, so it’s worth ensuring your assets are appropriately covered. All too often insurance is relegated to the bottom of the priority list because it’s considered an expensive, frustrating and time-consuming process. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Choose an insurer that can offer you a personalised and expert insurance solution that meets your needs in a cost-effective and hassle-free way, and you can cross one more thing off your holiday to-do list. Contact us to find out more about how our short-term insurance offering can help put your mind at rest over the holidays and remember to stay vigilant this silly season.

Acknowledgement – Leané du Plessis and www.crimestatssa.co.za (Sourced from Safire Insurance Company's monthly newsletter – February 2019)


Don't forget to share this post!

Back to top
NFB Loading