Monty Montgomery, Atlas Operations Manager, would like to warn all subscribers that with the start of school holidays, so has the increase in crime.

We have found that a lot of the home invasions that take place close to bush have increased. If your home is situated close to bush areas please take extra care – large amounts of valuables have gone missing in the past few weeks. Intruders are using all kinds of methods to cart valuables away, these include: duvet covers, pillow slips, stolen bicycles, trolleys and wheel barrows to mention a few. Monty and his team are working on clearing out possible perpetrators in these bush areas.

Monty reported that units in a complex have also been targeted close to bush areas. These tend to be more organised hits where the syndicate will target more than one unit in the complex. The suspects will even go so far as to arriving in a vehicle and pretending to be working on the access gate. We have had incidents where they have used their own vehicles to force open the gate – please make sure that you adhere to the rules of the complex and wait until the gate closes behind you.

We encourage cyclists and runners who use routes that follow through a secluded area, to stay in groups. All pedestrians and shoppers are also warned to please be aware of lurking criminals who are watching you.

Many homes have what Monty calls a “safe room,” these are protected areas that are used to protect families/valuables in case of a home invasion. Monty reports of incidents where home owners have security gates in passages leading to the “sleeping area” of the home – there have been cases where someone either knocks on the front door or rings the bell at all times of the day or night. If you are not expecting a visitor, this is the easiest way to lure you out of your “safe area” and into a very vulnerable space. The suspects hear your alarm being de-activated as you enter the “unsafe” side of your home and as you get to your front door – kick it down and have full access to your home. Let us not be oblivious – let us be smarter!

To any caretakers or subscribers who know of or assist the elderly – Monty urges you to please make sure their sleeping quarters are well protected. A lot of the time we have had incidents where the resident only wakes up once the intruder is in their home due to the fact that they are on medication and not aware of what is happening around them. Our older folk are more vulnerable and need the best protection – we have had incidents where they have been brutally attacked and we do not want them to be the victim of such fatal attacks.

Plenty of our readers are making their way out of town for the holiday season. We encourage you to contact our control room on 0861 585 585 pr on email and have the necessary information updated. We will need details of someone who has a key/access to the premises should anything happen. This trusted individual should be going to site daily to check on the premises. Monty reports that we have had incidents where the residents have gone on holiday and have not left any holiday instructions with Atlas, therefore when a burglary occurs; we have no one to contact to assist with the situation. Your property will be left vulnerable and not properly secured. Monty also confirmed that suspects are disconnecting alarm systems – they then ransack your home without a notification to our control centre and this is only identified on your return. The importance of a keyholder is vital!

Monty urges our community and residents to assist us in reporting any suspicious activity. We are witnessing far too many home invasions – while the residents are at home. These are by far the worst invasion any individual could encounter. The trauma that is attached to this event is what we need to consider and avoid.

To all our subscribers leaving town – please stay vigilant even though you have left your “comfort zone”. For all those staying home, please stay alert of any suspicious activity in your area and report this to us immediately.