The national lockdown has had a positive effect on crime levels in the country, with Police Minister Bheki Cele confirming early in April that there had been a significant drop in serious and violent crimes since lockdown started on March 27.
While this is good news, Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT, warns residents and businesses against complacency, especially with the easing up of certain restrictions in level four of the national lockdown, from 1 May.
She emphasises that more people going back to work and businesses reopening pose an opportunity for criminals to blend in more and have broader opportunities to commit crime. “The economic impact of lockdown is also a driver for crime,” she adds.
“Everyone has been impacted by the economic effect of Covid-19 – many may turn to crime to survive, which means even more criminals on the street. On the other hand, we fear many home and business owners may be thinking about cutting or downgrading their security systems and contracts with service providers as a means to survive financially,” Hattingh says.
“This is not the time to leave your family vulnerable with an inadequate security system or security provider. There is no doubt that crime will pick up as we move through the various levels of lockdown to open up the economy. We need to remain vigilant and protected.”
Hattingh points out that routines and everyday life have been uprooted as a result of lockdown, but to neglect your normal security routine could be costly.
Take note of these 5 security risks and tips for lockdown living:
- More cars are parked on properties now than normal during the day and night. Mitigate the risk of vehicles being stolen or broken into by ensuring garden beams are activated, even during the day when you are inside the house. Sensor lighting and electric fencing are also good deterrents.
- More doors are being opened with the whole family home. The best advice is to use one door if possible and keep the rest locked, including the security gates. Security gates should be locked at all times with the keys removed if the doors are open.
- Families are enjoying the good autumn weather outdoors. If you are using the back garden, ensure the front is protected by arming the garden beams and vice versa. Always keep a remote panic button nearby or on your person if you are doing gardening or hanging up washing.
- No communication with neighbours. Many people do not know their neighbours or interact with them – in or out of lockdown. Exchanging telephone numbers and being aware of who is legitimately on their property can be helpful in an emergency.
- False alarms. Family members who are not generally involved with the security protocols in the home may be inadvertently triggering the alarm or beams at all hours of the day and night. It is always important that everyone in the home knows how the alarm and panic buttons work and how to quickly get help in an emergency. Teach children from a young age the importance of being security conscious and knowing how to react in an emergency.
“Lockdown is a different way of life, but some things should not change, like the protection of your family and property 24 hours a day with the back-up of a proper security system linked to a reliable security service provider,” Hattingh concludes.
“It is not only about heightened vigilance and ensuring your alarm is armed when you go to bed, it is about ensuring your security systems are working properly and that everyone in the family remains committed to personal security as we phase out of lockdown.”
Press release: Cathy Findley Public Relations