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Ensure a home is safe

Everyone looks forward to going away on holiday - including burglars. The SAPS provide you with some tips on ways to protect your home and possessions.

 

Fences and walls

A high fence around your property, with lockable gates, is much safer than a high wall. This is because people can see through a fence so criminals cannot go about their business undetected. Walls provide no such visibility, giving robbers some protection from neighbours' eyes.

Ensure that gates are locked at all times. The keys should not be left lying around, and must be out of reach; certainly they should not be left in the lock. Security gates with sturdy locks, in front of each outer door, as well as burglar proofing covering all windows are recommended.

A number of devices prevent easy access:

- Window bars
- Security doors
- Security gates
- Razor wire
- Additional locking devices
- Strengthening of doors
- Peepholes
- Safety chains
- Intercom systems between the home and gate

Safety precautions

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your safety at home:

- Memorise emergency numbers. Keep a cellphone in the bedroom

- Never leave keys in a gate or lock

- Have good outside lighting

- Post left in the gate is a sign that nobody is home. If you are going away, get a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and to remove post and newspapers

- Be careful of what is discussed in front of household staff

- Ensure that all doors are locked at all times and that windows are closed when you are not at home

- Large dogs serve as a deterrent; at least one dog should be trained to sleep inside the house

- If you are going away or out, tell your family or neighbours where you are going, when you will be back and the route you will be driving, especially if you live in a rural area

- Ensure that tools such as axes, spades, picks, and ladders that can be used in an attack, are locked away

- Don't leave your garage, front or back door open as this is an invitation to burglars

- Get into the habit of not immediately falling asleep after switching off the lights. Remain awake for a while. You should also not be visible in the bedroom from the outside when you are asleep

- Always keep a torch nearby at night and when you use it, ensure that you do not give away your position

- Identify relatively safe places of refugee, such as the bathroom, toilet or storeroom

- Take photographs of all employees. It could be to your advantage to identify them, if required. Keep copies of all your employees' identity documents. - Do not employ casual workers without first checking their references

- When approaching your house entrance by foot or car ensure that it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed

- Do not allow strangers on your property or in your house without having properly identified them, especially at night

- Robbers have been known to pose as police officers. Police officers must carry an identification card stating their name, rank, service number and photograph. If in uniform, the officer will wear a name plate with the police star on the badge as well as epaulettes indicating rank. You can ask plain clothes policemen and those in uniform to show you their identification cards.

For further information and other safety tips, visit the SAPS website.