Law enforcement experts have warned homeowners to be wary of markings on walls and pavements around their homes as well as unexpected power cuts ahead of scheduled load shedding.
The say these are just some of the new tactics criminals have developed to rob houses.
Vice President of Crime Stoppers International Yusuf Abramjee says criminal syndicates and common thieves are now using a wide range of modus operandis to take advantage of innocent and unsuspecting citizens.
Abramjee says, “As far as burglaries are concerned we know that criminals prowl the streets. They are using the ongoing problem of poisoning dogs. We also seeing them short circuit some of the electric fences and that is why it is important for homeowners to take extra security precautions. If for example you come home and you notice something suspicious in terms of markings outside your house, it is best to report to the police immediately and it is best you remove those markings as to not to fall victim to crime.”
Abramjee also said a worrying trend has emerged – where criminals hijack victims and hold them hostage while they empty out their bank accounts.
Abramjee says, “One of the worrying trends we are seeing as far as hijackings are concerned is that they take the victims hostage. They then withdraw money while they looking for the tracking device and only once the tracking device has been found will they then release the hostage. This is a very worrying trend and police are seeing that trend on the increase.”
In the West Rand of Gauteng, criminals are breaking holes on boundary walls to gain entry to premises.
Chris Manana says the complex he’s living in has been attacked on numerous occasions by criminals breaking in through the wall.
Manana says, “So what happens is that where the fence ends, they break the wall and they start breaking the wall from under the fence so that they can gain entrance and then without the alarm triggering and then they just take TVs and small things they can carry out easily.”
Martin Kriel, from ADT security, says over the last few months they’ve noticed an increase of load shedding related crimes.
Kriel says, “We have had reports of criminals tripping the electrics before a scheduled outage, so they can cut an electric fence and gain access like that. That is one thing that people must be very aware of, don’t just assume it is load shedding, it could be a criminal activity.”
In the crime statistics report released in September 2019, there were more than 220 000 house burglaries reported to the police, an average of 605 houses per day and more than 48 000 vehicles were stolen, while more than 16 000 were hijacked.
Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe says, “They are seen as our force multipliers on the ground because if you look at residential areas, it’s private security companies that are paroling in those areas. What they do is, they become our eyes and ears on the ground where if there is an incident they share information with our call centres and command centres and activate all other role players and that helps us greatly in apprehending suspects who have been involved in committing crime.
“I must say private security companies are key to us as an organisation, as the South African Police Service in squeezing crime to zero in South Africa,” added Mathe.
in the video, we see the new technology which has been developed to curb house break-ins.
Last year during the Private Security Indaba with Police in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, Minister Bheki Cele said private security companies have been central in arresting the surge in cash-in-transit heists.
Cele said the police had to work together with private security companies to deal with cash-in-transit heists that were getting out of control.
Cele says co-operation with private companies is important because criminals are well-resourced.
“I have come to understand and respect private security companies, especially after working with them on the matter, on the high crime of cash in South Africa in 2018. South Africa was burning because of the criminals dealing with cash, we had to come together. We had a lot of joint operations.”