Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Exclusive homes, areas vulnerable to crime

- NORMAN CLOETE norman.cloete@inl.co.za

LIVING in some of the country’s most expensive streets and suburbs comes at a cost and these homes are often targeted by criminals. Property research group Lightstone recently released results of the 10 most expensive streets and suburbs in South Africa.

Secure Drive chief executive Jared Higgins said many residents in these exclusive suburbs are not just concerned about protecting their properties but are also arming themselves and their families with knowledge.

The results showed that eight of the 10 most expensive streets and suburbs are in Cape Town with the other two in Johannesbu­rg. Topping the list is Bel Ombre in upper Constantia. Other areas include Bantry Bay, Llandudno, Oranjezich­t and Fresnay.

Hyde Park and Illovo in Johannesbu­rg were the only suburbs outside of Cape Town that made the top 10 list.

The survey was completed on 8 million residentia­l properties across the country where homes were found to sell for up to R20 million. The research showed that single women were now the biggest group of property buyers in South Africa.

But for the residents of these exclusive suburbs and others, safety is key.

Higgins said in addition to state of the art security technology at some of these homes, families who live there are also receiving training in how best to respond should they be involved in a hijacking or house burglary. Even children were being taught how to

“People have no idea how much informatio­n they are actually posting Jared Higgins SECURE DRIVE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

react in any sort of situation.

His advice to all residents when coming home is to create a “golden mile”.

“Turn off your radio, don’t take or make phone calls and this will raise your situationa­l awareness. You will know if you are being followed or if anything out of the ordinary is taking place in your street or suburb,” he said.

Higgins added that much of their training is focused on moms who are either dropping off or collecting kids from school and/or doing shopping. He said some of the research has shown that these were critical times when “situationa­l awareness” should be at its highest but was often not.

He also warned against people advertisin­g their lives and their every move on social media.

“People have no idea how much informatio­n they are actually posting which can be used by criminals. The flashy engagement rings make you a target,” he said.

Drivers are also cautioned to keep a safe distance between cars and in the event of a hijacking, you will have enough room to make your getaway.

Here are some tips from Higgins about what to do in a possible life and death situation.

◆ Dont be a hero, possession­s can be replaced, lives not.

◆ Act slowly. Complying is your best option.

◆ Always put your baby’s car seat directly behind your seat. This way you get to your baby should you need to.

◆ Children must get security training.

◆ Don’t make eye contact with your attackers.

◆ Change the times you leave home or return from work. Change your routes.

◆ Change your mindset before you become a victim.

◆ Have a family emergency plan in your home so that everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency.

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