South Africa’s 2015/2016 annual crime statistics just released show an increase in house robberies and especially carjacking in several areas in the country. It highlights the importance of having the right and adequate insurance.
Lizette Erasmus, Manager: Insurance expertise at IntegriSure, says “With this incidence of crime comprehensive insurance cover for your car and household contents is simply a must-have. The chances of this happening to any one person are just too high not to be insured. The costs of being robbed can be crippling, and being properly insured is the most effective way to avoid financial distress. Prevention is better than cure.”
The figures announced today by acting Commissioner for the South African Police Services (SAPS), Lieut.-genl. Khomotso Phahlane, shows South Africans need to take extra precautions to ensure their personal safety, being aware of risk and to protect their personal belongings. “The fight against crime is the responsbility of everyone, not just the police,” he added.
Erasmus says the statistics, as analysed by The Institute of Security Studies (ISS), paint a worrying picture. “Residential robberies, where fear or force is used by criminals, are among the crimes that South Africans fear the most. It is of great concern that residential robberies have increased by 2,7 % (20 820 cases and an increase of 63% over the last 10 years) . Residential burglary (theft without force or fear) have seen a drop of 1,2%, but still amounts to 250 606 cases.
“The latest figures show a sharp increase in carjacking of 14,3% (14 602 cases across the country). This highlights the need for greater security measures when driving in order to protect drivers, passengers and cargo. According to the ISS, carjacking is now part of organised crime.
“It is more important than ever for South Africans to be aware and vigilant at all times, and to ensure they are protected. Apart from the emotional and mental trauma of being a victim of a crime, the high associated costs are a major issue as well.
Erasmus also advises South Africans to make sure they are aware of the latest security developments and techniques available. Together with appropriate insurance cover, a few basic steps, for little or no money, will significantly reduce the risk of crime.
“Common sense and general awareness are some of the most important ways to prevent crime and ensure the safety of homes, cars and residents. Criminals tend to take advantage of situations where the surrounding community seems unconcerned and inattentive. Constant and visible awareness can be a major deterrent for these types of opportunistic crimes. These measures may not eradicate crime, but can significantly increase the safety and wellbeing of a home and its residents:
- Use perimeter fencing as a first and major barrier to entry;
- Keep doors and security gates locked at all times;
- Keep a minimal amount of cash in the house;
- Trim plants and trees around the house to ensure clear visibility;
- Install lights to illuminate dark pathways and outdoor areas;
- Heed alerts from the local council, SA Police Services and neighbourhood watches;
- Do background checks on potential employees before hiring them – many incidents result from “inside information” being passed on by new staff members;
- When a staff member leaves your employ, collect their keys and change combinations for security features such as safes and alarms;
- In the event of a burglary or suspicious person entering or loitering around your house, train staff and family members to take note of features such as height, clothing, hair colour and other details. This information could be vital for police investigations, should they be necessary;
- Hire a reputable security company with a proven track record of positive results for households. This may include security guards, CCTV monitoring, alarm systems, and roaming armed response vehicles. Display a prominent sign outside the property stating that these measures are in place and regularly tested.
- Install a tracking device in vehicles;
- Ensure that you are aware of and know the major carjacking hotspots in your area and try to avoid these;
- Ensure that your car is properly locked before walking away to avoid car jamming, or make use of an anti-jamming device;
- Install anti-smash and grab in your vehicles.”