High walls draw thieves who reason they must hide more wealth

2014-10-30 00:00

RESIDENTS behind high walls in KZN’s capital and surrounds have also felt the scourge of crime in their homes.

In support of Professor Monique Marks’s theory, figures show residents in Hilton have experienced alarming rates of criminal activity this year despite added fortification of their homes. There were a reported 160 burglaries and 14 robberies this year in Hilton alone. This in comparison to Prestbury for example, where homes are considered more approachable and there were 81 burglaries and three robberies.

Vanessa Pandaram, manager of Amlec Security, said almost double the number of incidents they respond to come from the Montrose area in comparison to places like Woodlands and Eastwood. Lucas Holtzhausen, from Safe City, said that there is a strong perception amongst criminals that larger fences hide more valuable items.

“Criminals think that people who live in posh suburbs are richer so their loot will be of greater value compared to middle-class suburbs. High fences give the impression that someone is guarding something valuable, indicating wealth which draws more criminal attention,” Holtzhausen said.

Stacey Govender, from PMB Security, said high walls pose problems to response units as well, because they limit sight and access. “Even if we do get in and confront thieves, if our guards need to escape because of things like gunfire, it [high walls] puts their life at risk.”

Lucas Holtzhausen from Safe City said the biggest problem they experience is the poor quality recordings rendered by cheap security cameras.

“People buy one camera to watch their entire front yard whereas they should have one camera for each entrance or area,” Holtzhausen said. “Good dogs and proper CCTV cameras are a better deterrent than high fences.

“Interestingly, we have also found that darker furred dogs are more threatening to criminals than lighter furred ones.”

Avinash Sukai, Red Alert operations manager, said in the Hilton, Oakpark, Montrose and Chase Valley areas, high fences also result in neighbours becoming secluded from each other.

“What I’ve picked up is that most people don’t even know who their neighbours are.

“Sometimes we receive reports of suspicious cars only to go out and find it belongs to a neighbour,” Sukai said.

Sukai urged people to get to know who their neighbours are and to have the sort of relationship where they can tell one another when they are going to be away on holiday, especially with the festive season coming up.

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