Here are some safety tips from Newcastle Corporate Communication to help prevent your home from being a target this festive season.
It is important to read these tips and send them on to family and friends.
Ø Do not leave your windows, doors or garages open.
Ø Never leave keys in the gate or lock, or under the mat, pot plant or in the post box.
Ø Do not leave expensive or attractive items lying around the garden.
Ø Keep cash and valuables in banks or safes.
Ø Put house lights on when out late, good lighting can deter a thief.
Ø Install a burglar alarm and test regularly.
Ø Know all your emergency numbers, eg: 10111.
Ø Keep your cellphone in the bedroom.
Ø Remember outside lights that are on during the day draw the attention of thieves.
Ø Mail left in the gate is also a high sign that nobody is home. Get a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and remove mail.
Ø Never leave workmen unattended to in your house.
Ø Conduct thorough background checks before employing anyone.
Ø Never open the door automatically when the bell rings or if someone knocks. Make sure the person wanting to enter is expected.
Ø Unsuspecting domestic workers, gardeners and children are often approached by robbers pretending to be telephone repairmen, plumbers, municipal inspectors and many other professions.
Ø In an attempt to gain entrance to the house the robbers may pretend to talk to the owner of the house so as to put pressure on the unsuspecting victims to open the door or gate.
Ø Robbers have on occasion been known to pose as police members. You can identify a police member in the following way:
Ø Members must carry an identification card stating the member’s name, rank, service number and photograph. If in uniform the member will wear a name plate on the badge, as well as epaulettes indicating rank. Members may be requested to identify themselves with their identification cards (known as appointment certificates in the SAPS).
Ø A watchdog is a good early warning system. Keep it visible as a deterrent but beyond the reach of strangers.
Ø The unexplained death of a watchdog is a warning sign of a possible burglary. Poisons used to kill or incapacitate dogs are also very poisonous to humans and must be handled with extreme caution and only by experts.
Ø Dogs that are outside and can bark at anything that walks by are less effective as “alarm” systems than dogs that kept inside the house that only bark when someone is a direct threat to you.
Ø When approaching your house entrance, ensure that it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed.
Ø Be on the lookout for persons loitering at the entrance, vehicles stopping when you slow down or anything unusual at your home.