Are burglaries in Newcastle’s residential areas on the increase? Is the criminal element preying on unsuspecting residents, taking advantage of the lack of security measures during the holiday season and back to work rush?
Over the past month, there has been a spat of burglaries. The criminal element targeting homes in Pioneer Park, Amiel Park, Schuinshoogte, Hutten Heights and Aviary Hill.
Four cases were reported in Moodie Avenue, Pioneer Park. Another four cases were reported in Schuinshoogte, of which two took place in Protea Avenue and the other two taking place in Disa Road.
In Hutten Heights, several burglaries were reported taking place on Impala Road, Gemsbok Avenue and Border Avenue, as well as Fountain Lane, Steenbok Avenue, Coronation Road and Klipspringer Avenue.
A further number of burglaries took place in Amiel Park, with homes in Usco Road and Amiel Road being targeted.
With the incidents taking place during nightfall and during the daytime, police are encouraging residents to remain vigilant. “We have found that most incidents take place when residents go away for a duration of time, leaving their homes unattended,” says Newcastle SAPS spokesperson, Captain Jabulani Ncube.
As burglars target homes, Captain Ncube explains there are steps which residents can follow to minimise the chances of falling victim to an incident of housebreaking.
How to safeguard yourself from potential burglaries:
- Don’t leave your windows, doors or garage open.
- Never leave keys in the gate, door lock or under a mat, pot plant or post box.
- Do not leave expensive or attractive items lying around the garden.
- Keep cash and other valuables in banks or a safe
- Put on your house lights if you are out late, as good lighting can deter potential burglars
- Install a burglar alarm
- Know all your emergency numbers
- Keep your cellphone in the bedroom with you during the night
- Ensure outside lights are off during the day, as it draws the attention of thieves when they are on during working hours
- Never leave workmen unattended in your home
- Conduct a thorough background check before employing someone to work for you at home
- Thieves pretending to be telephone repairmen, plumbers or municipal inspectors often approach unsuspecting children, domestic workers and gardeners to gain access to a house. Be sure to tell your children, domestic workers and gardeners to not allow these individuals inside, unless you are present.
- On occasion, robbers have pretended to be police officials. Before allowing access to these individuals, it is important to know that all police officers must carry an identification card which states their name, rank, service number and photograph. If in uniform, officers will wear a nametag on the badge, as well as epaulettes indicating rank. Officers can be requested to identify themselves with their identification cards (known as appointment certificates in the SAPS).
The SAPS encourage residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious people in their neighbourhoods to the SAPS.