Analysing crime trends

2016-02-16 06:00

AS house burglaries and robberies continue to plague greater Durban residents, including those in the Upper Highway area, Enforce Security is continually analysing the latest crime trends and statistics in order to proactively manage residents’ risks.

Using the expertise of its private investigations unit and in-house crime analyst, Enforce is urging residents to take note of the latest trends in order to better protect themselves and their homes from criminals.

Crime Analyst Caitlin Naylor has warned that the common modus operandi used by both house burglary and house robbery syndicates remain very similar, with forced entry still a popular means of access to homes.

These include using tools to cut through property fencing and burglar bars, and forcing open doors and windows.

Derailing gates or tampering with gate motors is also a common modus operandi for criminals to gain access to properties, while “fishing” items through windows was the most common method used over the festive season.

She said home robberies were frequent occurrences in recent months, and that a few cases had resulted in fatalities. Some robbers will – and are prepared to – encounter residents once they have broken into their homes, while others will deliberately target home owners in their driveways or at their front doors.

There has also been a noted increase of syndicates following residents from banks.

“The days and times for house robberies vary, but during the weekend the common times are between 1am and 3:30am, while, during the week, the times are about 8am to 3:30pm.

This is because the robbers expect people to be at work or occupied by only a domestic worker or stay-at-home/work-from-home individual.

Obviously though, there will be cases that occur outside of these common times.”

Naylor said weapons used were often firearms and knives, and that robbers were “certainly becoming more violent”.

Nico Potgieter, head of investigations, said some syndicates deliberately targeted homes when residents were home as they needed them to assist in locating or opening any safes, which may contain cash, jewellery of firearms.

“They also prefer to hold residents up in their homes as then they have more time to scour through the house and take their time stealing items. This is opposed to burglaries where they have only a few minutes once an alarm is sounded and armed reaction, and possible the SAPS, are en route.”

He added that while some suspects were of course opportunistic, many have been known to observe particular homes or streets for days or weeks before they hit.

“This allows them to establish if there are any neighbourhood watch patrols, strong security presence, and routines of residents,” he said.

Potgieter also urged residents to become more proactive in the fight against crime at a community level.

In addition to taking better precautions and looking out for their neighbours, he said residents needed to report all cases of crime, regardless of how minor they seemed.

Often people tend to not report or open cases for incidents of petty theft or even trespassing as they do not view this as serious enough, or take pity on those committing such crimes assuming that they are merely desperate and not a real danger to people.

However, this is more often than not, not the case.

As a recent example, KwaZulu-Natal SAPS last week reported that Hillcrest police had apprehended a man found in possession of a suspected stolen bicycle.

They had taken him to the local police station for questioning and were awaiting positive identification of the bicycle from the owner.

At the same time residents from the KaNqetho area in Hillcrest were at the police station giving statements about the murder of an 80-year-old woman in the area the previous day.

Her body had been found in the bushes.

The resident immediately recognised the suspect as the same one who had last been seen with the woman at a local tavern the day before.

He is now being investigated for her murder.

Potgieter added that, in many cases, trespassers were only trespassers because they had not yet had time to break into, or rob a property.

“A trespasser, given time, could be a house burglar, with the potential to then be a house robber or possibly even a rapist, depending on how the situation plays out.” - Supplied

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