THE KwaZulu-Natal SAPS are warning residents to be alert at all times and not to allow strangers into their homes. This after reports of incidents in the province whereby criminals gained entrance to properties under false pretences.In a statement issued by SAPS, it was explained that often criminals will arrive clad in blue work wear, claiming to be coming to do work on the property. When the victims open the gate, they would then be robbed of their valuables. “Community members need to be cautious and alert at all times. Do not let the strangers into your home, ask for identity documents or work identification cards as proof of employment,” advised the statement.Hillcrest SAPS Communication Officer Captain Linzi Smith said that there is also a new trend where criminals arrive in luxury vehicles and hoot at gates. “Most often the owners never check before opening the gates. Criminals are employing this modus operandi as they are aware that most residents tend to be complacent, resulting in them becoming victims of crime,” she said, further noting that this is one of the reasons that house break-ins and house robberies are on the increase.“Residents also need to try and keep the entrance to their property and fencing clear of shrubs and bushes, allowing more visibility and more lighting to entrances,” she said.Smith advised that if anybody comes onto the property stating they are coming there in an official capacity, they should always be asked for identification, saying: “Residents must ask to see valid permits/credentials, or one could even ask for a supervisor’s contact number at their office and verify that they are who they say they are and are performing official duties.If they arrive in a vehicle and it has no markings and looks suspicious, then you can contact 10111 and report the vehicle. Don’t just open the door. “This information needs to be cascaded to children living in the house and/or staff members. “Staying vigilant at all times can help prevent a traumatic incident,” Smith concluded.