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Householders' Insurance
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 02:16
Beating burglars

According to statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS) crime report, there were a total of 245 531 cases of burglary of residential homes in 2012/2013. The report highlighted that home break-ins, particularly during the holidays, are common and often as a result of criminals seeing empty homes as easy targets. In an effort to avoid becoming another statistic, homeowners who plan on travelling to holiday destinations should obviously take the necessary precautions to reduce the risks of a home burglary.

Nazeer Hoosen, Executive Director: PPS Short-Term Insurance, says that homeowners should find a friend, neighbour or house-sitter to oversee the property while they are away. “A lack of movement in the home can make it appear a more desirable target for burglars, which is why it is advisable to have someone to stay on the property to create an awareness of presence.”
He says that for those who make use of a house-sitter, must ensure they are trustworthy, “While it is preferable to have friends or family house sit, there are also a number of professional house sitting service providers available. Alternatively, if this is not possible then it is still advisable to have someone visit the property on a regular basis. This ensures that potential hazards in the home are monitored, for example, ensuring the deep freeze contents remain preserved if the electricity goes off, or checking for any water pipe or geyser bursts.”
Travellers should make sure someone collects and removes any mail or newspapers delivered to the home. It would be better to suspend newspaper deliveries. And do not overlook any outstanding deliveries in respect of, for example, online shopping, pre-ordered medicines, gifts via courier, and so on.
“The alarm should be tested before embarking on holiday and the armed response service provider should be contacted to ensure the system is working effectively. For those who employ a house sitter, they must ensure he/she is aware of how to operate the alarm as well as all the insurance requirements, that is, the alarm must be fully set when no one is on the property.”
It is also important that homeowners do not leave the lights on 24/7 as this gives the impression that no one is on the property to switch them off. “A nice option is to implement a timer in the home that switches the lights on and off according to a time schedule – especially for those who do not use a house sitter.”
Furthermore, it is advisable to ensure the house is protected from the outside, says Hoosen. “Properties with high walls and effective protection against entry into the property (such as electric fencing, razor wire or apparent alarms) are perceived as being far more difficult to burgle.”
He says burglars may also ring the front doorbell to see if anyone responds, to determine whether there is a presence in the home, so it may be a good idea for homeowners to divert the answering system of the doorbell to their mobile phone while they are away. “It is also possible to link camera footage from any CCTV cameras to be viewed on mobile devices in order to monitor the property.”
Hoosen notes that It is important to build good relations with neighbours as they will be more likely to report a burglary should they witness one. “By bearing the above in mind, homeowners can feel comfortable that they have taken the necessary preventative measures to protect their homes against burglary should they go away over the Easter weekend. In addition, it is important to ensure appropriate insurance cover is in place to cover any financial losses in the unfortunate event of a home burglary.”

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:27.5 1st May, 2014
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