RAG urges residents to be cautious during the festive season

Residents are warned to be cautious this festive season and beef up security before going on a holiday.

With the festive season around the corner, crime is expected to increase from now until after New Year, Residents Action Group (RAG) has warned.

Residents who will be away on holiday are advised to monitor their SMSs and to never ignore messages from their security service provider alerting them of a low battery signal, RAG general manager Mark Morris advised.

“This is one of the most important things that you need to do while away on holiday.

“A method used by criminals is to turn off a house’s electricity and wait for the alarm battery to run down.

“If you have an alarm monitoring and armed response service provider, you will receive an SMS when this happens.

“Never ignore it,” Morris cautioned.

He said that the security provider’s system will automatically send this SMS when the battery is about to switch off.

And that because of load-shedding alarm batteries do not last.

“When you get a low battery signal, you should ask your security service provider to do regular patrols past your home while you get the power back on.

“This is one of the reasons why it is very important to have a keyholder when you go away.

Morris urged residents to ensure there are no signs indicating the house is unoccupied.

Citing that an unkempt driveway and uncollected newspapers or mail is a sign criminals will look out for.
He urged residents to ask a reliable person to check on their homes.

“You may not be hiring a house-sitter, but we all have neighbours and friends.

“Provide them with your contact information and give them a key so they can take in the post or gain access to your home if there’s an emergency.

“Give them your security service provider’s numbers, too, so that they can call in any problems or concerns immediately.”

Morris advised residents to implement the following security measures before leaving:

• Ensure valuables such as laptops are not visible from the windows

• Having curtains closed all day may appear suspicious, so leave them as you would when you’re at home.

• Install timer switches to turn your lights on and off (consider installing motion-sensor lights on your property.)

• Ensure your security equipment is in good working order.

• Test your alarm, beams and armed response monitoring before you go.

• Also check your electric fence.

“With all the rain, plants grow quickly and can trigger your alarm.

“If there is an overactive or cycling alarm, your security company may think it is faulty.

“Remember to set your alarm when you leave,” Morris stressed.

Residents who will be home this festive season are also told to be vigilant.

“Be alert when driving home from shopping centres or outings, especially when entering your property.

“Invest in the best security measures and safety features for your home, and use them.

Morris added early evening is when criminals often strike, and the most critical upcoming periods in terms of crime risks are the long weekends and public holidays when people let down their guard.

He reminded community members to report anything of concern immediately, including – suspicious persons, vehicles or activities.

Residents can call the RAG control room on 082 322 3333.