Ramp up security during downtime

19 December 2019: South Africa: With the silly season now in full swing most shopping malls across the country are bursting to the seams with merry shoppers but lurking amongst these throngs are criminal elements looking for easy prey. It is not only shoppers who are victims of crime as both residential and business robberies […]

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19 December 2019: South Africa: With the silly season now in full swing most shopping malls across the country are bursting to the seams with merry shoppers but lurking amongst these throngs are criminal elements looking for easy prey. It is not only shoppers who are victims of crime as both residential and business robberies also usually spike during this period. Every other year the festive season experiences a rise in theft, burglary, armed robberies and road accidents that result in many fatalities.

According to Nhlanhla Khuzwayo, Managing Director, Security Services at integrated facilities management company Servest; “This is the most critical time to ramp up security as criminals are on the lookout for easy targets.”

Servest is a leading black owned facilities management on the African continent; providing integrated facilities solutions including security among others.

Khuzwayo says, “Of importance, in planning security systems for any site is to ensure that the perimeter and access control areas are well secure. Also, there needs to be a mix of proactive and reactive systems in place with strong CCTV. Preventative strategies should be in place to stop crime before it happens”.

Khuzwayo notes that residential security is as critical as business security; it’s equally important to ensure that the periphery areas are well-lit and have good visibility as a rule of thumb to deter intruders.

“A lot of business and homeowners are all set to travel for the holidays, but what many haven’t thought about yet are putting additional security measures to enhance security while they are away,” saysKhuzwayo.

He recommends that before closing for the year, checking all security systems will be critical, for businesses, operations departments and providers should ensure that all security systems are in good working order, notify security service providers on business shut down periods.

The same applies with homeowners.

“If homeowners will be leaving their homes unattended, it would be prudent to advise security service providers on the periods in which you will not be home, check if all security systems are in good working order, and where there may be issues, fix before you leave. And those home owners with no security providers, make sure everything is locked up, alert your neighbours and tap into the neighbourhood watch network to make sure that you have other people on the look out to support in checking what’s happening in your home while you are away,” says Khuzwayo.

He recommends that where possible, it is always a good idea to have a house-sitter.

According to the Institute for Security Studies the five worst places for home robberies are Ivory Park, Honeydew, Nyanga, Mondeor and Sandton. The Institute confirms that most robberies in these areas were committed over weekends between midnight and 4am, during which robbers threatened victims with firearms and knives.

Here are quick top security tips for the holidays, as echoed by Servest and the South African Police Services (SAPS):

When travelling

  • Before you leave, ensure that you vehicle is in a sound working condition.
  • Do not use your cellular phone while driving as it distracts your attention.
  • Plan your route carefully before leaving, ensuring that you leave enough time for rest at a safe area.
  • Never display valuables in your car, lock it in the boot.
  • Never pick up strangers or take a lift from a stranger.
  • If you leave for an isolated place, leave your details with a trustworthy person who can call for help if needed.
  • Park your vehicle where it is safe and where there is sufficient light.

At hotels, guest houses and other accommodation 

  • Never leave your luggage unattended unless it is locked away in your room.
  • Store your valuables (especially firearms) in a safe or safety deposit box; and always keep your room locked.
  • If someone knocks, check who it is before opening the door. Do not allow strangers into your room.
  • Hand your keys in at the reception whenever you leave your room.

 Safety in the street

  • Never display expensive jewellery, cameras, mobile phones or other valuables.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money with you.
  • Do not leave your handbag unattended, always carry your wallet in an inside pocket.
  • Steer clear of dark and isolated areas at night.
  • If you want to make use of taxi, use a reliable service.
  • Never participate in games of chance in the streets. This often leads to robbery.
  • Report lost or stolen belongings to the police immediately.
  • Never allow your children to be distracted or to wonder off from parents.
  • If you carry a firearm, it must be licensed, and must carried in the holster or similar holder and it must be completely covered. You must always have full control over your firearm at all times.

When going out on holidays

  • Inform a reliable neighbour of your absence. The neighbour may immediately contact you if there is suspicious movement in your house.
  • Avoid posting on social media if you have gone on holidays. Criminals are alerted on social media of your absence and movements therefore the chances of breaking into your houses increases.
  • Before you leave for holidays, ensure the doors and windows are locked.

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