Think like a criminal to make your home less of a target for criminals


The increased sophistication of criminals are seeing them use advanced intelligence techniques to target our homes. Furthermore, deterrents such as alarms and armed response have little effect on SA criminals. In this press release we look at what you can to make your house a less attractive target and how to become more savvy when it comes to protecting your home.

A barking dog, changing your daily routine and the presence of closed-circuit TV (CCTV) could make your home a less attractive target to criminals.

Referring to a study done by a UK-based insurance company and research conducted by a Dr Rudolph Zinn of the School of Criminal Justice at UNISA, Auto & General’s spokesperson, Angelo Haggiyannes says that house robbers spend a considerable amount of time watching and gathering intelligence on potential targets.

“People who don’t advertise what they’ve got and alter their routines to make it harder for criminals to formulate their plans of attack are less likely to be targeted,” says Haggiyannes, adding that insight into the way that house robbers think could help prevent people from becoming targets.

The UK research revealed that some techno-savvy robbers were even using social networking sites to gather intelligence, with 12% using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to pinpoint the whereabouts of a target and establish how long they would absent from home.

According to Dr Zinn, in South Africa, house robbers spend a lot of time, sometimes up to two weeks, monitoring the target’s home and the residents’ movements. 80% of the reformed house robbers interviewed by Dr Zinn used inside information sourced from domestic workers, gardeners and former employees to assist them in committing their crimes.

While house robbers in the UK listed alarm systems as a deterrent, those interviewed in the South African study were undeterred by alarms and armed reaction services. Electric fencing, detection beams and small dogs that sleep inside the house are considered deterrents in South Africa.

Both studies suggest that open displays of wealth such as expensive cars, jewellery and even discarded packaging of newly-acquired expensive goods such as TVs serve to attract criminals. In fact, 20% of the house burglars questioned in the UK survey said leaving packaging on the pavement is tantamount to advertising to them.

“If house robbers have a universal approach to choosing their targets and seem to ‘agree’ on what they consider to be deterrents, then there are perhaps a few things that we as homeowners can do to detract would-be criminals’ attention away from our homes,” says Haggiyannes.

Haggiyannes says that it’s important to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to gather intelligence on you and your home.

“Given that robbers tend to case-out a property and the residents’ comings and goings for as long as two weeks, it is highly-recommended that you deviate from your usual routine regularly. Change your patterns every week by leaving and returning home at different times, using different routes and visiting different shops to what you typically do.

“In South Africa, the importance of employing extreme caution when hiring domestic workers and other service providers cannot be underestimated. Be careful who you let into your home.”

Haggiyannes concludes saying that while some burglars may not consider alarms or armed response services as deterrents, homeowners should still invest in these and other intruder prevention and detection systems.

“Invest in the best security you can afford and have multiple layers of protection to make it as difficult as possible for robbers to get into your property.”

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Home and Household Insurance

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