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Tackle rising crime trends

Bellville has seen a sharp surge in crime and police are urging residents to apply basic safety tips.

According to Capt Jonathan Blankenberg, spokesperson at the police station in Bellville, there are three main types of crime that have seen more cases reported over the past few months: theft out of motor vehicles, robberies and house break-ins.

Theft out of motor vehicles

Theft out of motor vehicles commonly occur from parking areas at shopping malls, as well as in the parking area of Karl Bremer hospital.

The police give the following tips:

  • Hide all your valuables out of sight. “Stash it, don’t flash it.”
  • Remove and lock away your valuables before parking in any public parking areas.
  • Ensure that your windows are closed and doors locked when driving.
  • The canopies of bakkies are easily opened. Never leave any valuables unguarded at the back of the bakkie.
  • When leaving your vehicle, ensure that the doors are locked, do not rely on central locking.
  • When you park your vehicle in any parking area, be vigilant and scan your surroundings for suspicious people.
  • Report crime to the police immediately.

Robberies

When it comes to robberies, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Do not carry your phone in a way that it can be easily snatched.
  • Avoid walking in isolated streets, as you can be easily attacked.
  • Some attackers are aggressive; don’t resist and focus more on survival and if possible, a description of suspects.
  • Earphones clearly indicate the availability of a device, avoid having them exposed.

House break-ins

House break-ins are a source of great anxiety for tenants and home-owners alike.

Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager of Fidelity ADT, says it’s important to know your property’s vulnerabilities.

“Walk your property and see things through a criminal’s eyes. Is your perimeter protection adequate? How easily can the gate be derailed? Do you have enough lighting around the house? Should you put a better lock on the front door?”

She says these are the six most common ways criminals gain access: forcing locks on gates, forcing locks on doors, breaking windows and forcing burglar bars, climbing over walls, disabling electric fencing and through open garages which are connected to the house.

“If we look at the common methods of entry, it is obvious that good perimeter protection is your first line of defence. This includes proper walling with razor wire or electric fencing (with tamper sensors), good lighting, a secure automated gate which cannot be tampered with or derailed and an intercom system which allows you to see who is at the gate.

Blankenberg gives the following advice:

  • Regularly check your alarm system for defects.
  • Criminals easily remove windows with­out breaking any glass to gain entrance. Check that your windows are properly locked.
  • Let it become a natural instinct to constantly check whether your doors and garage doors are locked. Never assume they are locked.
  • Practise good neighbourly relations and become each other’s eyes and ears. Join your local neighbourhood watch and become part in fighting crime together with the police.
  • Inform your neighbours or the police if your house will be unattended for a period of time.
  • Call 10111 in the case of an emergency.

Hattingh gives these additional tips:

  • Keep small dogs in the house as they can alert you early to anything untoward.
  • Outdoor beams are valuable early-warning devices and sensors should also be installed along outside walls, on the roof and in the ceiling.
  • Subscribe to an armed response service and ensure all your security systems are linked to this.
  • Install sensor lights strategically around the house, especially in front of bed­rooms.
  • Install strong doors and security gates with good quality locks.
  • Activate outdoor beams and an alarm in unused areas of the house when you are home.
  • Never leave the gate open if you are entertaining and expecting guests.
  • Close curtains/blinds at night.
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