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Think like a criminal to make your home less of a target

Insight into the way that house robbers think could help prevent you and your family from becoming targets

A barking dog, changing your daily routine and the presence of closed-circuit TV (CCTV) could make your home a less attractive target to criminals.


Referring to a study done by a UK-based insurance company and research conducted by a Dr Rudolph Zinn of the School of Criminal Justice at UNISA, Auto & General’s spokesperson, Angelo Haggiyannes, says that house robbers spend a considerable amount of time watching and gathering intelligence on potential targets. He added that insight into the way that house robbers think could help prevent people from becoming targets.


Be careful on the Net

The UK research revealed that some techno-savvy robbers were even using social networking sites to gather intelligence, with 12% using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to pinpoint the whereabouts of a target.According to Dr Zinn, in South Africa house robbers spend a lot of time monitoring the target’s home and the residents’ movements. Up to 80% of the reformed house robbers interviewed by Dr Zinn used inside information sourced from people like domestic workers and gardeners.



While house robbers in the UK listed alarm systems as a deterrent, those interviewed in the South African study were undeterred by alarms and armed reaction services. Electric fencing, detection beams and small dogs that sleep inside the house are considered deterrents in South Africa.


Don’t advertise

Both studies suggest that open displays of wealth such as expensive cars, jewellery and even discarded packaging of newly-acquired expensive goods such as TVs serve to attract criminals.


Change your routine

Haggiyannes says that it’s important to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to gather intelligence on you and your home. “Given that robbers tend to case-out a property and the residents’ comings and goings for as long as two weeks, it is highly-recommended that you deviate from your usual routine regularly.” He added that people should take extreme caution when hiring domestic workers and other service providers.


Make it difficult

Haggiyannes concludes saying that while some burglars may not consider alarms or armed response services as deterrents, homeowners should still invest in these and other intruder prevention and detection systems.“Have multiple layers of protection to make it as difficult as possible for robbers to get into your property.”


Issued on behalf of Auto & General Insurance


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