Easter warning for homeowners and tenants in South Africa

 ·23 Mar 2024

Property experts are reminding homeowners and tenants to take steps to protect their properties as crimes tend to spike over holiday periods such as Easter.

Seeff Property Group noted that whether you are spending Easter at home or away, safeguarding your most valuable asset should be a priority.

With neighbourhoods often quieter, homes become more vulnerable, and statistics show a significant increase in break-ins during holiday periods. 

Data from Auto & General Insurance, for example, showed a 96% rise in Easter break-in claims in pre-Covid 2019 compared to a typical weekend.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS)’s latest crime statistics, the country recorded 40,751 cases of home burglaries between October and December 2023.

This works out to roughly 453 incidents a day. Meanwhile, the SAPS recorded 6,360 house robberies over the same period – or 71 every day.

Considering this, Seeff Property chairman Samuel Seeff provided tips to protect your home and add peace of mind to your holiday:

  • Inform your security company of the periods that you will be away and provide contact details for someone local.
  • Leave spare keys and contact details with a neighbour or friend. Include your security company and the details of relatives or friends who can be reached in your absence.
  • Test your alarm system and perimeter security to ensure it is functioning correctly. Inform your security company of any issues.
  • Double-check that all windows and doors are locked, security gates are secured, and the alarm is armed before leaving, even for short periods.
  • Utilise light timers to switch on lights inside and outside your home, creating the illusion of occupancy.
  • A CCTV system linked to your cell phone is one way to remotely monitor your home while you are away. These cameras can cover the interior and exterior.
  • Request a neighbour to collect mail and pamphlets to avoid a build-up that indicates an empty house.
  • Arrange for pet care by hiring a house sitter or pet sitter if you are not using a kennel service. A house sitter can maintain the property and prepare it for your return.
  • Review your insurance policies to confirm they are up-to-date and offer comprehensive coverage for your home and belongings.
  • Maintain a tidy exterior by arranging for the lawn to be mowed during extended absences to avoid any appearance of vacancy.
  • Trim overgrown bushes and trees to eliminate potential hiding places for intruders. Remove items such as bins or ladders which can provide access to the property.
  • Secure valuables and important documents at home. Back up any important work and store laptops and valuable electronics out of sight in a safe place.
  • Park vehicles inside a garage or enclosed area to deter potential thieves. Do not leave items such as bicycles around the yard.
  • Keep a list of important contact numbers readily available, and consider installing emergency response apps on your phone for quick response in case of an incident.
  • Ensure the identity of anyone calling the house is verified, including anyone from the local municipality or other service providers, including fibre installers.

Read: What it costs to drive to South Africa’s popular holiday destinations this Easter – petrol and tolls

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