South Africa’s crime hotspots – and how to stay safe

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Recently released crime stats show that crime still remains stubbornly high. Here are a few cost-effective security measures that you can implement at your home.

The South African Police Service recently released their latest crime statistics. Unfortunately, the statistics don’t make for particularly cheerful reading.

If the statistics are anything to go by, crime appears to remain stubbornly high. While there have been decreases in certain crimes, there have been increases too. Specifically, there has been a marked increase in carjacking, driving under the influence, murder, attempted murder and robbery at non-residential premises, amongst other crimes.

It’s worth noting that the statistics cited are benchmarked against 2015 figures. If they were presented in ten year increments, the picture may look very different. For instance, according to National Home Security, which aims to create awareness around the importance of good home security, home robberies increased by approximately 63% over the past 10 years.

Various other reports and studies outline South Africa’s crime statistics. One site, www.crimestatssa.com depicts a map which highlights South Africa’s crime hotspots by suburb, city and province. The ‘worst’ ten precincts are also listed on the site.

Although the information provided by such sites (and indeed by any report, study or statistics provider) should be carefully scrutinised and questioned, the figures provided may come in handy for those considering property in certain areas.

Of course it goes without saying that it’s important to implement security measures wherever you live in South Africa. In a bid to create awareness around the importance of good home security, National Home Security launched National Home Security Month in June.

The initiative focused on positive solutions to security issues and aims to educate South Africans on all matters relating to effective security in and around the home. The campaign is supported by several security specialists and ER24 but is open to all like-minded organisations, including businesses, charities and not-for-profit groups.

Part of the campaign’s appeal lies in the fact that it provides guidance for those South Africans who cannot afford to hire private security solutions and have to install security measures themselves.

It’s easy to implement basic security measures. The following are just a few worth considering. Best of all, they don’t cost a cent (or very little) to implement:

  • Do not enter your house if your dogs have not welcomed you or the gate is open
  • Watch for strangers as you approach home. Drive away if you’re suspicious and call the police or security
  • At intersections, look around and take note of who is there and what they are doing. Keep your vehicle in gear for a quick getaway if necessary
  • Lock tools such as axes, spades and ladders away when you are not using them. These are often used to break in or even attack
  • Two locks are better than one. Add a night latch to your existing lock system
  • DIY alarm systems can take the form of threaded tins, gravel on window panes, pathways or around the house and obstacles that make a noise when moved. Dogs and geese also make for good ‘biological’ alarms
  • Security lights on the outside of a house can deter would-be intruders from attempting to enter a property
  • Always keep a torch nearby at night and when you use it, ensure that you do not give away your position
  • Clear all bushes and trees away from driveways and entrances

Most importantly, just be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you. Most crimes are opportunistic in nature so it pays to be alert and be on your guard.

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