Residents urged to secure properties
The following advice and tips on the prevention of burglaries, both household and business, have been compiled by Graaffreinet SAPS for local residents to help keep their possessions safe. Basic precautions are often overlooked but serve to deter criminals.
Never leave doors unlocked or keys in a gate or lock. Security gates should be installed at outside doors and kept them locked. When doors are locked, the keys should be removed from the keyhole and placed where they cannot be reached from, for example, a window.
Residents are also warned not to leave their garage, front or back doors open, or partially open, as these serve as an invitation to potential burglars.
It is also important to make provision for good lighting around the outside of the house. A reminder is given that outside lights that are on during the day will draw the attention of thieves, and that it is better to put outside lights on a timer.
Lighting should be used to the householder’s advantage. Lights that are on inside while it is dark outside put the householder at a disadvantage, but lights that are on outside while it is dark inside will allow residents to observe what is going on without being seen themselves.
Full mailboxes are also a clear indication that there is nobody home. Those going away on holiday should arrange with a neighbour or friend to keep a regular eye on the property and remove any mail and flyers.
Workmen should never be left unattended in a residence, and home and business owners should conduct thorough background checks before employing anyone, both permanent and casual workers. People are also urged to be careful about what is discussed in front of employees. A watchdog is a good early warning system. It should be kept visible as a deterrent, but beyond the reach of strangers. “Dogs that are kept outside and can bark at anything and anyone are less effective as an “alarm” system than dogs kept closer to you or inside the home, that only bark when someone or something is a direct threat to you” said a representative of SAPS.
If the house alarm goes off or strange noises are heard or dogs bark, the advice is to switch on the outside lights and investigate with caution. Residents should NOT go outside before they are sure that it is safe. Keys to a house should never be left under a pot plant or doormat!
Residents are advised to limit access to personal information, movements and what is inside their homes.
Valuable such as money and jewellery should be kept in a safe or at a bank. Firearms must be stored in a safe and it is very improtant not let anyone, including household employees, know that there are firearms in the house.
It is best to keep the safe out of sight, perhaps in a cupboard.
Finally, residents are urged to keep an updated list of the make, model and serial numbers of all electrical equipment, and to take photos of valuable jewellery.
Graaff-reinet SAPS contact details are 10111 or 049 807 1116, and these numbers should be kept near a landline phone, and stored as emergency numbers on a cellphone.