How to safeguard yourself against home invasions

Home invasions have unfortunately become a common method for prospective criminals to gain entry into homes because it is perceived as an easy way to access properties. “There are measures that can be taken to discourage intruders from choosing your home and, should you fall victim to such a crime, things you can do to survive an attack,” said Ivan Govender of a local security company.

Residents are encouraged to make sure that their homes do not look like easy targets for criminals who might be scouting the neighbourhood.

  • Make sure that shrubs and bushes in the garden are trimmed back and neat so that there are no places for intruders to hide.
  • Outside lights must all be in good working order and provide a good view of pathways, the driveway and gardens.
  • If your property is surrounded by walls, make sure that there is a videophone and intercom at the gate to identify visitors.
  • If you do not have a videophone, think twice before buzzing open the gate for a stranger, especially if you are not expecting visitors.
  • Burglar bars on windows and security gates must be firmly in place and checked regularly.
  • Never underestimate the determination of an intruder, so cover even the smallest or highest of windows in your home.

General precautions:

The key to safeguarding your home is making safety measures part of the family’s daily routine.

  • Everyone in the home (including your domestic workers) must know how to summon emergency services and operate the home security system.
  • Test your home security system regularly, to make sure it works and that emergency signals are received by your armed response company.
  • The garage and any other outbuilding must be locked when not in use as it can be a source of tools or weapons for intruders.
  • Ensure that your gate and driveway is well lit if you arrive home after dark and ensure that you can easily exit in case of an emergency.
  • You can request that your armed response service meets you at home to ensure a safe arrival.
  • Security gates or safety chains on doors must always be in use.
  • Investigate with caution if dogs bark persistently. If you are uncertain and concerned, alert the neighbourhood watch or armed response.
  • Adults must always open the front door or answer the intercom.
  • Lock the internal doors of rooms that are not in use at night.
  • Activate the alarm for those areas of the home that are unoccupied at night.
  • Keep your cell phone by the bedside.

How to deal with a home invasion:

Should you fall victim to a home invasion it is important to stay calm and evaluate the situation.

  • Avoid aggravating your attackers and make it clear that you will cooperate if you know that there is no means of escape or raising the alarm.
  • Hand over valuables and property if they demand it.
  • Be observant and take particular notice of any voice, dress or behavioural traits.
  • Only fight back or attempt escape when your life or that of a loved one is in grave danger.
  • If the intruders leave, do not hinder or try to apprehend them.
  • Do not follow the intruder outside.
  • Close and lock the doors immediately and call for help by activating the home alarm system.

“Always join the local neighbourhood watch, even if you do have the services of an armed response on call. Community safety is everyone’s business and it is essential that residents know their neighbours in order to present a united front against crime. Trust your instinct and raise the alarm immediately if you see any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood,” said Govender.

 

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