RAG Tips to Spot Suspicious Activity:

Strangers loitering in your neighbourhood

If a stranger is on your neighbour’s property, without any signs of the homeowner, this is suspicious behaviour. Even a person standing outside a home or near the driveway for extended periods, looking around aimlessly or looking at their cell phone, could be a criminal, an accomplice or a look out. Research shows that criminals will often watch a home for as long as two weeks before striking, to understand the residents’ habits and movements.

Strangers peering into cars or windows
This is an obvious sign of suspicious behaviour. Take note of and report a basic description of the suspects with the details and location. How many suspicious people did you notice? What do they look like – for example, are they male or female, tall or short, slim or overweight? What type of clothing are they wearing and what colour?
Strangers in a parked vehicle for an extended period or driving around aimlessly or repeatedly

Criminals usually observe a target before acting. They may drive past a property repeatedly to take note of the residents’ activity, or they may park close to the home to study routines. If you see a suspicious individual or people in a car, parked outside your home or a neighbour’s home, call it in. Take note of their appearance. Take note of the vehicle make and model, colour and license plate, and give RAG, your security service provider, BCPF or SAPS this information. A partial registration number can help.

Strange noises

Burglars may use forced entry to gain access into a home by smashing a window or even breaking down a door. Call in unusual noises from your neighbours or homes nearby, including glass breaking, loud thumps or bangs, shouts or screaming, an alarm going off, or dogs barking.

People going from door to door without proper identification

When planning a robbery, criminals may knock on doors posing as people in need, as salespeople, municipal workers, construction workers, service providers or even religious groups. They may be checking if anyone is home or trying to gain access by pretending to have a legitimate reason. Never admit anyone who you were not expecting. Ask for identification. Report anyone who is going door to door in your neighbourhood without a valid reason.

As community members, we can all be the eyes and ears for security role players like RAG, the BCPF and the police. We can all do our part to help keep our neighbourhood safe.

Suspicious activity in Bedfordview can be reported to the 24-hour RAG control room by calling 082 322 3333 or 011 455 7022.

Smash and Grab Tips
  • Always lock all your car doors and keep the windows closed.
  • Do not have handbags, cell phones, briefcases or other valuables visible inside your vehicle.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings when approaching an intersection or stopping your vehicle.
  • Leave a gap between you and the car in front of you to give yourself room to drive away if you need to.
  • Never open vehicle windows or doors for strangers, including street vendors or people handing out flyers.
  • Always look out for suspicious people or activities.
  • Be wary of people standing at intersections. They may be innocent, but criminals will often stand with others while waiting for an opportunity to strike.
  • If you encounter obstacles such as rocks or tyres, never get out of your vehicle to remove them. Reverse immediately and drive away in the opposite direction.
  • When approaching an intersection at night, always slow down well in advance so that the traffic light changes to green by the time you reach the intersection.
  • Be wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road as it may mean that a smash and grab happened recently.
Reduce Your Security Risks During Loadshedding
Alarm systems and electric fences will shut down without power. The standard lead acid or gel batteries that most alarm systems come with cannot handle constant power outages. Consider changing to a lithium battery which copes better with loadshedding.

For criminals, a power outage is the opportune time to break into a property. The load shedding schedules are all available to them. They will often wait until an alarm battery has run out and then strike. It is critical to take note of and respond to a low battery notification from your security service provider.

A low battery notification from your alarm system and security service provider means that your alarm and electric fence is about to stop working. Your security service provider will not receive a signal thereafter. Your security service provider will not know if you have an emergency situation, if you have an intruder or if you press your panic button. This dangerous situation is the same as not having an alarm system or armed response.

While a lithium battery is better suited to the current constant power outages, not all alarms can charge a lithium battery, so you may first need a technical assessment of your system.

6 tips to follow during power outages
  1. Never ignore a low battery alert from your security service provider
    Your alarm system may soon stop working. Check whether there is a scheduled power outage. A criminal may have turned off your power or be waiting to take advantage of your alarm system shutting down. If you are concerned, call your security service provider immediately.
  2. Test your alarm batteries regularly and replace them when necessary Standard back-up batteries for alarm systems (lead acid or gel) are weakened and damaged by extended power outages, for which they are not designed. Invest in a lithium battery as these are more resilient to regular power outages.
  3. Have back-up batteries
    Make sure that you have back-up batteries for electric fences and gates, so that these still work during power outages.
  4. Test your alarm system regularly
    Continued exposure to power surges and power cuts can increase the risk of technical problems. Constant power cuts may affect your alarm programming and even how your sensors and door or window contacts work.
  5. Ensure that your property is well lit, even during loadshedding
    Invest in solar or battery powered lighting. This will help to make your home or business less appealing to criminals during power outages.
  6. Ensure that you have several layers of security
    Do not rely solely on security technology, which may be compromised by power outages. Cell phone tower batteries and our connectivity is also being impacted by loadshedding. Lock gates and doors. Have burglar bars on opening windows. Ensure that your gate cannot be lifted off the rails.

Call your security service provider with any concerns, during loadshedding or at other times. The 24-hour RAG Control Centre can be reached on 082 322 3333 or 011 455 7022.

What To Do If Your Cell Phone Is Stolen

  • On a computer, you can try to locate your phone using Google “Find My Device” and Apple “iCloud – My iPhone”. Do not attempt to recover the phone without security or police assistance!
  • Lock and erase the stolen phone using Apple iCloud or Google’s security features in Find My Device.
  • Contact your cell phone service provider to disable the SIM and blacklist the phone.
  • Change all your passwords, including those for your email and social media apps.
  • Consider mobile apps besides banking that may be linked to your bank accounts and credit cards – like Uber, for example, and online shopping apps.
  • Report the theft to the police.
  • The criminals may contact you when you are online again as they will probably have got some of your personal details off the stolen phone. Do not be fooled by text messages from or similar fake websites which may try to trick you into providing your AppleID and password to unlock your iPhone and make it saleable.

There are also various measures that you can take now, which will help you if your cell phone is stolen in the future. These are some of them:

  • If you use an iPhone, you should disable “Control Centre” on the lock screen. This prevents the network on your phone being easily and immediately switched off by criminals to avoid tracking. Some Android phones have a similar feature called “Lock network and security”, which prevents wi-fi and data settings being changed from the lock screen.
  • Turn on Find My iPhone or Find My Device. This allows your phone to be tracked.
  • Disable iCloud Keychain. This prevents all your passwords being available to a cell phone thief – particularly if the phone is snatched whilst unlocked.
  • Use iCloud or other backups to keep your valuable data from being lost.
  • Your phone should have a unique PIN of at least six characters; not something like your birthday!
  • Explore the security feature on your cell phone; understand and make use of them.
  • To reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cell phone theft, do not walk around on streets or in shopping malls while talking or texting on your phone. Do not use your phone when stopped in a vehicle. If a criminal snatches the phone out of your hand while you are using it, it will most likely be unlocked and it will be easier for them to bypass any passwords and security measures.
Crime Prevention Tips

Beware of Open Bathroom Windows

Criminals often take advantage of open windows, especially bathroom windows. Close them! Ensure that all opening windows have burglar bars! 

Be Quick and Alert When Taking Dogs out at Night

In some incidents, RAG noted that the criminals struck when residents were taking their dogs outside to relieve themselves at night. Be alert. Be quick. Keep some beams armed, if possible. Have your panic in hand.
Remember that criminals may monitor your home for as long as two weeks to take note of your movements and habits. This is according to research by Professor Rudolph Zinn of UNISA’s School of Criminal Justice and Police Practice, who conducted in-depth interviews with convicted criminals.

Never Leave Ladders Lying Around

Criminals often use ladders that have been left lying around. Ensure that your ladders and tools, including garden tools, are securely locked away. Ladders can also be chained to an immovable object. Never leave them lying around for a criminal to use.

Make sure your security systems are in good working order

  • Make sure your alarm system is working and transmitting signals properly.  If in doubt phone the RAG control centre and test your system
  • Organise a free security assessment with RAG to ensure that all your security is comprehensive and in good working order.
  • Test your alarm and panic buttons regularly.
  • Have an operational electric fence around your entire property, with a loud siren and linked to your armed response company.
  • Ensure that your gate cannot be lifted off the rails. Ask RAG about solutions.
  • Ensure that your property is well lit – even during loadshedding. Consider solar lights.
  • Invest in backup batteries / power to run your security system during loadshedding.
  • Turn on garden beams early, especially in Winter
  • Lock doors and gates. Ensure that opening windows have burglar bars.
  • Have panic buttons installed in different places (near doors) and different rooms in the house.
  • Do not be complacent – even in a road closure. Never leave gates and garages open.
  • Your household employees must be included in your security. Ensure that they have panic buttons and know how to use them. Ensure that they are security conscious.

Prevent Crime On Arrival At Home

  • Make sure your alarm system is working and transmitting signals properly.  If in doubt phone the RAG control centre and test your system.
  • Ensure that your alarm is on every time you leave the house.
  • Turn on garden beams early, especially in Winter
  • Make sure you are not being followed.  Start checking at least  1km before arriving home. Turn off the radio, be alert and carefully survey the surroundings. Drive on if anything seems out of place. Call RAG immediately if you notice anything suspicious.
  • If necessary request a RAG vehicle to give you a VIP Home Tuck-in service.
  • Have your finger on your panic button while your gate opens and closes. Stop just inside your gate and watch it close behind you.
  • If your garden beams are armed, only deactivate them when the gate is securely closed.
  • Do not open the house or garage until the gate is closed.
  • Have RAG’s mobile panic button on your key ring.
  • If you are concerned about arriving home in the dark, request a VIP Home Tuck-in service. This is offered to all RAG members.

          Emergency Contact Numbers

          24-Hour RAG Control Centre:

          011 455 7022 or 082 322 3333


          082 911 or 084 142

          Suicide Helpline

          0800 567 765

          SA Police Service:


          EMPD (incl. fire, noise):

          011 458 0911

          Bryanston Vet (A/H emergencies):

          011 706 6023/4/5


          Life Bedford Gardens Hospital

          Leicester Road, Bedfordview
          011 677 8500

          Roseacres Clinic

          St Joseph Street, Symhurst, Germiston
          011 842 7500