We are now in full swing for 2017 and we had a chat with Monty about all of the goings-on in the Metro over the festive season and things to be aware of this year.

He discussed the rise in home invasions, house robberies, robbery from persons and guarding one’s privacy, amongst other topics with us.

Monty has noticed that home invasions seem to be on the rise; these are essentially burglaries – whether residents are home or not. The main items that are being targeted are electronic devices – especially since many people have acquired more or newer models over the festive season. He warns that there seems to be a trend happening where, once hit, the criminals return again after goods have been replaced. A disturbing trend in home invasions, is the inclination of criminals to lay in wait and watch your every move – particularly in homes that are not shielded from view. Monty strongly suggests to our readers that they should guard their privacy – whether home or not, but particularly when they are busy at home – for instance, if a criminal sees that they have grabbed a towel and headed to the bathroom, this might be an opportune time for them to gain quick access and take a phone, tablet, laptop or purse – or all of these! Net curtains or blinds are great additions to windows, which safeguard activity within the interior of the home. In addition to these, the obvious activities such as locking gates/doors, closing windows etc. are essential if busy with an activity that will leave several rooms unattended. Another thing that goes without saying, is arming the alarm – even if popping out for 5 minutes.

One step up from home invasions, are house robberies. These are where criminals enter when the homeowners/residents are home and they hold them captive in some way – and sometimes harm them. Monty’s advice is, that should readers encounter strange noises on their property, particularly at night, to rather alert Atlas or the SAPS, instead of heading out the back door to investigate them alone. This could put residents at risk as criminals could be using tactics to lure residents, in order for them to gain easy access to the property. Monty also suggests rather pressing a nearby panic button, as the noise is also likely to frighten the criminals who are then more likely to flee. An added benefit of doing this, is that an armed response vehicle will be dispatched before the client is phoned in the event of a panic signal.
Monty has a direct message for the elderly and the young, in particular, as these segments of the community tend to do more walking than the rest. He cannot stress enough, the importance of concealing one’s cell phone when walking. Criminals immediately see people walking openly with phones as easy prey and therefore easy enrichment.

Moving season is upon us, as many families have either sold their home and moved or are moving homes, owing to lease requirements. This means that there are several empty properties around the Metro. Monty has noticed that criminals will stop at nothing and are evening stooping so low as to stealing light switches. He advises that the last thing that should be suspended in a vacant property should be the security. He has seen homes that have been stripped bare – right down to the carpets being removed.

Finally, a word from Monty on industrial and commercial crime trends. There has been a spike in roof breaks, yet again, even with the great arrests made by the SAPS at the end of 2016 – which resulted in 4 behind bars. Unfortunately, it seems that this genre of crime has spread to other ‘gangs’ of criminals and they are becoming larger and more persistent. The key here for any business is adequate protection of the roof space. Many businesses share roof space and should, therefore, conduct regular inspections in order to check that things such as the fire breaks are still in proper working order. Landlords should be made aware also and ensure that they have installed adequate measures to safeguard their tenants.

Monty wishes to extend his good wishes for 2017 to all our readers and would like them to heed his advice into this year.

Until next week – stay safe!