Understanding House Robberies in South Africa

There are many ways to defend against house robberies in South Africa, but according to Professor Rudolph Zinn of UNISA’s School of Criminal Justice and Police Practice, and Brigadier Piet Byleveld, keeping small dogs inside your house, employing electric fences, alarms and security sensors, as well as using an armed response service are the best ways to deter.

Professor Zinn arrived at his finding by conducting in-depth interviews with 30 perpetrators convicted and incarcerated for aggravated robbery. He discovered that most house robbers were males in their early twenties, and would typically target in groups of four. Each criminal, on average, owned up to having committed 103 crimes with economic improvement as motivation.

How They Select Their Targets

Zinn revealed that criminals selected their targets based of wealth, and that demographical factors such as race played no part in the decisions of the perpetrators. The common thread amongst the perpetrators was that they selected targets when they possessed inside information. This often involved talking to domestic workers, gardeners, or security guards.

Criminals picked neighbourhoods that had a number of entry and exit points, with easy access to main roads and areas where street security was low or non-existent. That said, low security was not the largest factor when it came to choosing a target, but rather homes with valuable items to steal.

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Investigator Brigadier Piet Byleveld weighed in on the matter, saying that keeping a safe on the property can be particularly tempting to criminals as this denotes that a home contains high-value items.

Performing the Robbery

Each and every culprit said they had spent time prior to the house robberies doing surveillance on the targeted home. Byleveld explained that criminals are mindful of the police and security companies’ response times and make sure to operate within that time constraint accordingly.

 

Protect Yourself!

Investigator Brigadier Byleveld said the best way to protect your residence is to install CCTV and to keep small dogs as an early alert system. He said that to defend your home, living in an area with proper access control is valuable. He also mentioned that screening all of your workers – including domestics and gardeners – to see if they have criminal records, or why they left their previous employment, is of the utmost importance.

Zinn’s research enforces Byleveld’s advice, and includes extra security measures like an electric fence, alarm system, security lights, strong doors, and security gates.

Zinn cautioned that no single security system is adequate enough to discourage criminals from targeting a home. Instead, he said a layered approach to security is needed to protect your house against criminals.

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