Protect your home from criminals this December – here’s how

Violent crimes that South Africans fear most, such as murder, attempted murder and robbery have increased dramatically over the past two years. But the bad news is that cases of armed robberies, burglaries, murder, attempted murder and serious assault tend to increase markedly over the festive season. MyBroadband asked Bull Security operations manager French Jooste and Fidelity ADT CEO Wahl Bartmann what crimes typically increased over this period and what advice they could give to keep safe. With loadshedding also on the increase, they advise that it is essential to test your security system’s backup battery to ensure it can handle regular power outages. “The key factor is to keep your alarm system, CCTV system, and electric fence functional for that loadshedding cycle,” Jooste said. We may be on a holiday but the criminals sure aren’t. This article was first published on MyBroadband – Asime Nyide


How to protect your home against criminals these December holidays

By Hanno Labuschagne

With many people away on holiday during the festive season, the opportunities for criminals to strike will be higher than usual — both at home and in popular tourist hotspots.

MyBroadband asked Bull Security operations manager French Jooste and Fidelity ADT CEO Wahl Bartmann what crimes typically increased over this period and what advice they could give to keep safe.

Both companies have recently been conducting high visibility patrols within their footprints, in partnership with the South African Police Service and metro police departments, to send a message to would-be criminals.

Bartmann and Jooste said there had been a surge in house break-ins, armed home robberies, business robberies, and motor vehicle-related crime in the past few weeks.

The pair emphasised the importance of servicing your home’s alarm system before leaving on holiday.

Bartmann cautioned that December was traditionally a busy period for security companies, so homeowners should test their alarms as soon as possible before going on holiday.

Should the system require servicing, this should be arranged as early as possible.

Bartmann said Fidelity had recently seen more incidents during the day.

Jooste explained that criminals could strike at any hour, but the typical “wall jumper opportunist” would operate more during the early morning when households were asleep.

He said that one area which they often used as an easy access point was the home’s roof.

“Make sure that you have proper infrared passives installed inside your ceiling,” he said, advising customers to ask their security company for advice on high-quality passives.

He highlighted three ways to ramp up home security through contact with others:

  • Ask your local security company for extra patrols and visibility.
  • Ensure that your house sitter or neighbour has all the necessary contact numbers in case something happens at home.
  • Make sure that you are on your street WhatsApp or Telegram group.

Jooste further emphasised it was important to keep enough lights on around the house.

“Criminals don’t like light, so keep your vulnerable areas well-lit,” he said. “[Also] make sure that you have an outdoor beam or another early warning device outside,” he stated.

Floodlight with motion sensor for early detection.

On that point, with load-shedding over the festive season being more likely than in previous years, both security experts said it was essential to test your security system’s backup battery to ensure it could handle regular power outages.

“The key factor is to keep your alarm system, CCTV system, and electric fence functional for that load-shedding cycle,” Jooste said.

Bartmann advised that concerned homeowners ask their security companies to test their battery systems. 

Jooste highlighted one area many South Africans might overlook — protecting your home with your online presence.

“If possible, never give too much away on social media — for example — when leaving and coming back. Criminals also use social media,” he said.

Similarly, Bartmann warned against leaving a message on your phone’s answering machine stating that you are out of town.

Finally, Bartmann offered some pointers for staying safe on your travels:

  • Always carry your purse close to your body or keep your wallet in an inside pocket or front trouser pocket. It is also advisable to always carry identification.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended; avoid using your full name and address on your baggage’s ID tags.
  • Avoid displaying large amounts of cash, and do not draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive jewellery.

Bartmann’s comprehensive guide summarises many of the important checks and balances for securing your home before leaving on holiday.


3–4 weeks to go

  • Ensure that your alarm is in working order.
  • Confirm any provision you have made for your pets while away.
  • Ensure there are no gaps in your fence or unintentional points of access to your home which may need additional security.
  • Connect outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors as an additional deterrent.

1–2 weeks to go

  • Advise your security company of your holiday plans and ensure they have all keyholder information and details of domestic workers, gardeners or house sitters who may be staying on the property while you are away.
  • The keyholder must be a person you trust to make decisions on your behalf – such as hiring a guard and replacing window and burglar bars should an incident occur.
  • Inform your neighbours and neighbourhood watch of your holiday plans so they can keep an eye on your property while you are away.
  • Stop all newspaper and other deliveries and arrange for someone to collect your post while you are away — a bulging post box clearly indicates that you are not home.
  • If you have hired a house sitter, teach them how to use your alarm system correctly. Always remember to give them your password to cancel the alarm.
  • Ensure that all your outside locks are a minimum of four lever or double cylinder security locks. It is also a good idea to check that all these locks are in good working order.

1–7 days to go

  • Ensure all bushes or trees close to your doors and garage are trimmed to avoid the possibility of intruders hiding behind them.
  • Be discreet when packing your car. Do so behind closed doors — if possible, in your garage.
  • Before locking up, check all water outlets and electric sockets.
  • Ensure that you have not left a key on the inside of an exterior door that has glass panels or glass near the door lock.
  • Before setting off, double-check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors — sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail.
  • Don’t leave ladders, spades or tools outside, as these can be excellent break-in tools.
  • Ensure that cell phones, valuables and remote controls for automatic gates and garage doors are not left lying around.
  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbour in case of an emergency.
  • Arrange for someone to check on the house regularly to water the plants, empty the mailbox, feed the dogs, air the house, mow the lawn, and switch lights on and off. Movement in and out of the house is a deterrent in itself.
  • Leaving dogs on the premises serves as added security, so it is best if you have someone who can care for them while you are away.

Read also

Visited 1,544 times, 1 visit(s) today