Security company Fidelity ADT says it has seen an alarming rise in the number of armed house robberies across Johannesburg over the course of March 2021.
Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, said that the security company recorded 33 incidents in the north of Johannesburg alone.
Bryanston, Petervale, Paulshof and Wendywood recorded the highest numbers of armed robberies.
In addition, there have been sixteen recorded incidents in Bryanston and surrounding areas, ten in Wendywood areas and surrounds, and seven in the Fourways and surrounding areas.
Hattingh said it was particularly concerning that the majority of these incidents involved armed suspects.
“We can see that in a number of instances people have forgotten to arm their systems, or put on their beams. There is also a worrying trend of gates being left open.
“That is a problem as it is a home owner’s first line of defence. In other instances, we have found that criminals find a weak point in the perimeter security where the electric fence is not working or the gates are not locked for example.
“Fortunately these criminals appear to be in and out for easy pickings, but there is always the worry of personal injury,” she said.
Fidelity ADT said that security measures such as 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,” said Hattingh.
She said that domestic staff should always keep security gates on doors locked – they may not hear an intruder over the noise of the vacuum or know that someone has entered the house while they are in the backyard.
Hattingh added that the alarm system must always be armed when they leave the house – even if it is only for a few minutes.
“The bottom line is you always need to remain vigilant. Act as if you are being watched and take all necessary precautions.
“Your security starts with having the correct domestic and gardening employees who are well vetted and au fait with your security protocols, to having the right security measures around your home; to living in a community that supports and has good security protocols,” she said.
National data published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in February also showed an increase in the number of violent crimes, as the country’s reduced lockdown levels.
The data includes the third quarter of the 2020/21 period, covering criminal activity reported between October and December 2020.
Aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by 7%. A notable increase was reported in the hijacking of trucks, delivery drivers and couriers. There was also a 66% increase in cash-in-transit van hijackings;
Residential robberies increased by 1.3%, while business robberies decreased by 6.9% compared to the same period last year.
This is reflected in Gauteng’s provincial crime data which shows that murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common robbery and rape all increased over the same time period.
National Crime Data: Q3, October to December 2020
|Category||Oct – Dec 2019||Oct – Dec 2020||Change|
|Robbery of cash in transit||39||65||+66.7%|
|Attempted murder||5 014||5 452||+8.7%|
|Commercial crime||21 725||23 428||+7.8%|
|Carjacking||4 462||4 794||+7.4%|
|Murder||5 908||6 297||+6.6%|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||2 515||2 642||+5.0%|
|Sexual offences||15 325||15 595||+1.8%|
|Malicious injury to property||29 598||30 032||+1.5%|
|Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm||49 428||50 124||+1.4%|
|Robbery at residential premises||5 704||5 781||+1.3%|
|Common assault||47 599||47 875||+0.6%|
|Robbery at non-residential premises||5 426||5 052||-6.9%|
|Stock-theft||8 437||7 854||-6.9%|
|Robbery with aggravating circumstances||37 352||34 599||-7.4%|
|Burglary at non-residential premises||17 179||15 550||-9.5%|
|Drug-related crime||41 520||37 546||-9.6%|
|Common robbery||13 351||11 822||-11.5%|
|All theft not mentioned elsewhere||71 509||62 195||-13.0%|
|Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle||11 772||10 099||-14.2%|
|Shoplifting||14 533||12 308||-15.3%|
|Burglary at residential premises||51 737||42 834||-17.2%|
|Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition||4 114||3 353||-18.5%|
|Theft out of or from motor vehicle||28 458||22 697||-20.2%|
|Sexual offences discovered as result of police action||27 011||16 259||-39.8%|