Private security company, Fidelity ADT has reported an alarming rise in the number of armed house robberies across Gauteng during October and November.
Wahl Bartmann, chief executive of Fidelity Services Group, said that the group has recorded 20 incidents in the South and East of Johannesburg with Alberton, Springs and Turffontein recording the highest numbers of armed robberies.
There have been nine recorded incidents in the North of Johannesburg, three of these have been residential robberies and the balance commercial robberies.
“In our Pretoria footprint, we have had 15 incidents from October to date. Five of these have been commercial and eight residential and in our more outlying areas we have recorded 10 incidents, seven commercial and the balance residential,” said Bartmann.
He said that all of these incidents have involved armed suspects. “We know traditionally that a staggering 8 out of 10 residential robberies are committed using information from domestic workers, gardeners and former employees.
“Home and business owners need to be aware of the importance of vetting all staff very carefully. We recommend homeowners particularly use a specialist placement consultancy who can do the necessary background checks,” he said.
In 2016, UNISA’s School of Criminal Justice conducted research into understanding and preventing house robbery in South Africa. Although the survey is almost four years old now a number of the findings are still relevant, said Bartmann.
Some of the key trends identified include:
- Robbers will monitor the home for as long as two weeks;
- Most attacks occur between 19h00 and midnight as people are relaxed, sleeping, cooking or watching TV and the security systems and beams are not activated. Robberies can continue until 04h00;
- 97% of robbers are armed;
- On average, an armed robbery gang has four members;
- The average age of a house robber is 19 to 26 years of age;
- An average of 30% of all house robbers have either committed murder or won’t hesitate to commit murder and of all arrested robbers.
“In our experience we have found that security measures like electric fences, detection beams and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) are still key deterrents to crime, as are pets.
“For homeowners small dogs that sleep inside the house are seen as a deterrent. How secure your neighbourhood is, is also a meaningful factor. If robbers are scouting carefully they will view regular patrol and a strong neighbourhood watch system as a good reason to move on,” he said.
Data published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Stats SA on Friday showed that crime was down across most categories across South Africa.
Robberies – be it of cash-in-transit or at residential premises – were some of the only crimes to see an increase over the period.
“As we approach the festive season, criminals are trying to make up for the time lost during the ‘crime holiday’ experienced in the first quarter of the financial year. This is demonstrated by the increase in the country’s most feared crimes, which are residential robberies.
“While many citizens are still working from home due to the Nationwide Lockdown, incidents of home invasions have increased by 8.5%. On the other hand, cases of business robberies have declined by the same percentage,” Cele said.
The below table shows the areas which have reported the most cases of ‘trio crimes’ – including carjacking, residential and non-residential robbery – across the country.