Gauteng Business News

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SECURITY: Managing Your Risk Of Exposure to Burglaries


Recent Gauteng Business News

According to Aon South Africa, there has been a marked increase in residential robberies in the last year. The release of the recent SAPS crime stats substantiates the findings with burglary at residential premises remaining relatively high at 260 460 reported incidences for the 2013/2014 period; while robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 12.7% from 105 888 to 119 351 incidences in the last year.

“The trend appears to be focusing on Northern suburbs in Johannesburg such as Saxonwold, Hyde Park, Dunkeld, Illovo and Sandhurst; Northern suburbs in Durban in addition to Southern suburbs in Cape Town,” says Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.

“In 50% of incidences, the robbers are armed and operate in groups containing three or more members. The focus seems to be on residences where the owners are not home, making away with jewellery, cash and firearms after attacking and tying up domestic workers. In 70% of cases, robbers gained access from a neighbour’s property where building or construction is underway and in almost all of the reported cases, the robbers had internal intel or have been observing their target,” explains Mandy.

Secure complexes are not excluded. “Owners are becoming increasingly complacent and are lulled into a false sense of security, often leaving access points and doors open or unlocked, which provides easy access for would be criminals. The robbers gain entry into the complex by tailgating cars or holding security guards up,” she adds.

In the fight against crime, vigilance remains any homeowner’s first port of call when it comes to managing their risk of exposure to robberies. Mandy offers some practical tips:

· Many robbers reportedly follow their victim home from a shopping centre or a bank, so be aware of vehicles that remain in your rear view mirror.

· You are most at risk when leaving your home or arriving home, so turn down the volume in your car and be alert.

· Keep any shrubs trimmed and have sufficient lighting on your gate and down the drive way.

· Have your remote handy and stay on the road, don’t wait in your driveway while the gate opens.

· Keep your doors locked and be prepared to drive off before the gates are open.

· If you arrive home and any of the doors and/or gates are open – leave the premises.

· Don’t leave ladders and tools lying around your home.

· Keep your valuables outside your bedroom.

· Keep a spare cell phone in your bedroom.

· Make sure your home has burglar bars, security gates and electric fences.

· Don’t give anyone your alarm code.

· Don’t let anyone in you don’t know.

· If you are confronted by an armed robber: follow their directions, don’t look at them, don’t be a threat and don’t try to hide or destroy anything.

· Educate your domestic worker

When the time comes to claim for stolen possessions, owners could very well find themselves holding the short end of the stick. “Basic stipulations outlined in the insurance agreement are often not followed such as keeping jewellery worth more than R10k, large sums of money and firearms locked up in a safe. We furthermore find that many claimants do not have up to date valuation certificates for their valuable jewellery, which should be done every second year, making it difficult to prove their loss,” explains Mandy.

The services of a professional broker could well prove to be invaluable in evaluating your exposure to a burglary. “A professional broker will be able to facilitate the making of a well-managed insurance programme that accounts for your unique needs and risk profile, while matching your available budget. Your broker will also be able to confirm the security requirements that are listed in your insurance policy, how often valuable jewellery should be valuated and will advise you on how regularly you should update the inventory of your home. A broker can ensure that you are in good hands in the event of a claim and that there are no surprises waiting for you,” concludes Mandy.

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