Police and security companies urge residents to be more alert

Beagle Watch team members fit a gate alarm at a local residence.

Hijackings in driveways, derailing of gates to gain access to properties, car theft and being followed home by robbers are problem crimes that police and a local security company say can in some cases be avoided.

Warrant Officer TJ de Bruyn, spokesperson for Sophiatown Police Station, confirmed that these crimes are problem crimes which need to be dealt with.

He explained that some of these crimes could be prevented if residents are more aware of their surroundings.

“Hijackings in driveways happen more and more these days. It’s a problem. Residents should consider driving a detour before parking and also make sure nobody is following them or is hanging around near their gate,” De Bruyn said.

“If residents feel something is not right, they can just drive past their house, keep on driving and call the police to assist them instead of parking in the driveway or going into their home.”

Beagle Watch managing director, Dave Casey is also of the opinion that these crimes can be reduced or stopped if residents become more alert.

Tips on how to stay safe in your driveway:

  • n Ensure the road is clear
  • n Ensure nobody is following you or your car
  • n Carry your panic button on your car key ring
  • n Clear the sides of your pavement so that there is no place to hide
  • n Put an alarm on your gates.

Tips on how to avoid car theft:

  • n Park in a safe and secure place
  • n Park in a well-lit area
  • n Do not leave valuables in your vehicle
  • n Make sure your vehicle is locked before walking away
  • n Get a car alarm
  • n Get a vehicle tracking system.

“We advise residents to not be heroic by putting yourself in danger. No amount of money or property is worth a life. Obey the offender’s instructions and do only what you are told and nothing more. Try to avoid looking perpetrators directly in the eyes,” Casey said.

According to Beagle Watch, research suggests that trimming shrubs to eliminate hiding places, a barking dog, changing your daily routine and the presence of CCTV cameras and outdoor beams could make homes less attractive target to criminals.

ALSO READ: Useful tips to keep safe everywhere you travel 

Roxy de Villiers

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