Latest Security Tips
Protect Your Money this Festive Season:
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), on behalf of the banking industry, would like to make the public aware of how they can protect their money this festive season to enable greater awareness:
The most recently published SAPS crime statistics from April 2017 to March 2018 were released in September/October 2018, as SAPS only releases official crime statistics once a year. For an excellent crime analysis tool check out Crime Stats SA and search for Hout Bay Crime Stats.
Some Crime Prevention Tips/Comments from Hout Bay SAPS & HBNW
Be Cautious when Selling Goods On-line
According to Hout Bay Station Commander, Lt Col Nebhisi, there is a rising new crime trend in Hout Bay, ie fraud. It seems some Hout Bay residents who have sold items on various online platforms (ie Gumtree and OLX etc) have handed over the goods, but then never received any payment for them. Various tricks are used by buyers to convince the seller that they have deposited the cash, but after the goods have been handed over, the sellers discover the money was never deposited into their bank accounts. It is easy to falsify a "Proof of Payment" notification - please make sure any cash deposits or EFT transfers have indeed been cleared by your bank before you hand over the goods you wish to sell.
Similarly, please check all references of people who quote you for work (renovations, building work etc) before handing over a deposit. There are also an increasing number of reports of people paying these deposits and then never seeing the contractor again, or having him disappear and they are left with a half finished job.
There is a lack adequate lighting and secure off- street parking in all areas. Please consider installing energy saver spot lights for outside your home. Especially residents in Penzance, Empire Ave and Albert Road areas. Well lit streets and pavements assist SAPS, SSP’s and patrollers. Lights prevent easy escape as there are no dark corners to hide in and the one thing these criminals fear is they might be spotted and caught.
- Clear all vegetation off the pavements and fences, again no hiding places.
- Have your alarms serviced regularly and do test’s, check batteries.
- Check beams, and clean out covers. Ants love making nest in these.
Note that our SSP’s always react to every activation whether true or false. But a false alarm wastes time, and could mean the minutes needed between catching a criminal or not.
Residents need to be extra vigilant. Check alarms are activated and doors/windows locked and secured when retiring for the evening.
When your alarm is disarmed, try and keep doors locked and windows closed. You shouldn’t be dropping all your layers of security at once. Do not go outside to check why your beams have activated or to investigate a noise. Instead contact your Security Service Provider to check.
- Do not accept any help from strangers at ATM, they switch the cards, without you even knowing about it.
- When going to a mall or shopping areas, do not park in deserted areas or areas that are not well lit.
- When walking on the beach or on hikes in the mountain, do not walk alone, walk in groups it is safer.
- Do not wear jewellery, or carry expensive equipment (cameras, cellular phones, ipads, laptops etc).
- Leave absolutely nothing exposed and visible in your vehicle when parking on the street, in any public space or your driveway.
- Do not leave your bag on the front seat of your vehicles, suspects often stand at robots and it takes them a few seconds to break your window and snatch your bag.
- Do not leave any articles visible or inside your vehicle, or even in the boot. Suspects watch you leaving your vehicle.
- Do not drink and drive. Use a designated driver or use a taxi service.
- Be Cautious with your Cash
See the Crime Awareness Brochures from SAPS
Home Security & Burglary Prevention Tips
- Ensure that all valuables and important documents are photocopied, authenticated by a Commissioner of Oaths and securely locked away. If you do not have a fire proof home safe, lodge these copies with your bank for safekeeping.
- Ensure that perimeter doors are fitted with adequate locks. The front door should have a safety chain or safety latch and, if the door has no vision panel, a door viewer. If keys to perimeter doors are mislaid, those locks should be replaced.
- Fit suitable “spacers”, locks or bolts to all sliding doors to prevent them from being lifted off their tracks (the most common method used by burglars on sliding doors and windows).
- Ensure all windows are fitted with adequate locks or burglar bars that cover all glass.
- Ensure that all duplicate keys are locked away if not in use. Do not leave in doors or make unnecessary copies.
- Install a safe for weapons and valuables. Duplicate house keys could be kept in this safe. Wall safes are usually not fire proof and therefore not suitable for face-value documents and money.
- Keep the garage and tool shed locked when not in use. Would–be intruders should not have access to any item that can be used as a weapon or burglary tool.
- Install outside lights that can be remotely controlled from inside the house. Consider installing lighting outside which is activated by a motion detector.
- Try not to have high walls and tall hedges that obscure your view of the property. If walls and ledges are low, or have openings, neighbours and passers-by will more easily be able to spot suspicious or unusual activity.
- Reduce all heavy foliage near the garage entrance and front door to reduce the possibility of those spots being used as s hiding place.
When at home:
- Always lock perimeter doors and close windows that are far away from where the family activity is centered.
- At night always lock perimeter doors and securely fasten windows. When retiring to bed, lock inter-leading doors of those rooms that are not occupied.
- Do not leave curtains open at night as this allows observation into the house.
- Do not go outside alone to investigate at night. Rather switch off all lights and open curtains to allow you to see what is occurring outside, once eyes have become accustomed to the dark.
- Do not open any perimeter door without satisfactory identification from the visitor. If in any doubt, do not open the door and consider summoning the police or your SSP.
- Never admit to a stranger that you are alone.
- If a repair-person is expected, do not allow entry unless identity has been checked through a vision panel or door viewer and with the company concerned.
- Do not allow strangers into your home to make telephone calls. Rather offer to make the telephone calls for them while they wait outside.
- If you note suspicious vehicles, individuals or groups in your neighbourhood, contact the police or Watchcon.
When away from home:
- Do not leave notes on the door, underneath the carpet or in the post box to indicate that you are away.
- Do not leave hidden keys.
- Leave your house key with a trusted neighbour or the key holder (as registered with your Security Service Provider) so that access can be gained in an emergency.
- Do not leave only the outside lights on as this is usually an indication to would-be intruders that the house is not occupied.
- Leave lights on and the radio playing as this gives the impression that the house is occupied.
If Confronted By An Intruder
- Try to escape, if possible.
- If you cannot escape, try to lock yourself in a secure room and lock the door.
- Remain calm.
- Co-operate with the intruder.
- Be observant and take particular notice of any voice, dress or behavioural traits.
- Only shout for help or scream to avoid serious assault.
- If the intruder tries to leave, do not hinder or apprehend him.
- Do not follow the intruder outside. Close and lock the doors immediately and call for help by activating the home alarm system.
Other Basic Home Security Preventative Measures
- Ensure that anyone leaving your property can get into their car, start it, lock the doors and be fully prepared to drive off before the gates are opened.
- If possible, ensure that anyone leaving your premises can do so without having to reverse into the road. Reversing forces one to concentrate on the driving and not what lies outside the gate. It also greatly reduces visibility.
- If your visitors have to park in the street, escort them to their car when leaving and check that the road is clear for them. If you have dogs, take them with you, especially after dark.
- Ensure that your gate and driveway are well lit after dark. Replace fused light bulbs immediately.
- Ensure that the number of your house is clearly visible at all times.
- Install electric gates – consider this a necessity rather than a luxury.
- If you have electric gates and an intercom system, ensure that visitors can reach the intercom without having to get out of their cars. Do not leave them waiting outside for longer than is absolutely necessary.
- If you spot anything suspicious in your immediate vicinity, do not leave you property or hesitate to drive away from it.
- Be particularly alert if you live in a cul-de-sac, given their single point of entry and exit.
- When driving, avoid wearing flashy jewellery that can be easily seen from a distance by a casual passer-by.
- Never leave any important documents in your car that may provide your personal details.
- The only solution for vehicle-related crime is to have a tracking system installed in your vehicle
Various Crime Prevention Tips/Comments from Hout Bay SAPS
Detectives have noted that many homeowners do not have copies of domestic workers/gardeners ID Documents, do not even know staff's real names and/or addresses. Please ensure that you have all the relevant information about staff in/around your homes and obtain references before employment.
SAPS have offered to do a criminal background check on any new employees at the SAPS Station. Please make an appointment at Hout Bay SAPS, bring the proposed employee along with a copy of the persons ID document to the CSC and a criminal record check can be done.
Many homes are observed to leave curtains open at night with TV's, laptops, iPods, phones, iPads laying in clear view of passers-by. Even a digital picture frame attracts criminals who think it is a laptop. The criminals in the valley are professionals and do homework before break-ins.
A commonly reported crime is a smash and grab where a criminal breaks/forces open a window, enters your house, grabs the item he has seen and disppears long before anyone can catch him.
Remote Jamming - an going problem
There has recently been an increase in the reported number of ‘remote jamming’ incidents in Cape Town. Criminals are using electronic devices to disrupt the signal of remotes that activate the car alarm.
It is possible to lessen the risk of your vehicle being targeted once you have parked:
- Manually check that the windows are closed and that the doors are properly locked before you walk away.
- Never leave valuables - including your driver’s licence or house keys - on the seats or where they can be easily spotted from outside the vehicle.
- Where possible lock expensive items - like laptops or iPads - in the boot or preferably leave them at home.
- Ensure that your GPS device does not contain waypoints marked as “Home”, “Office”, etc. as this could lead to further incidents.
- It is also of the utmost importance to always be aware of your surroundings as this may prevent you from becoming the victim of a potentially dangerous situation.
Warning from SAPS - these scams are repeated from time to time
SAPS would like to send out a warning to the community regarding criminals that knock on doors of residents and inform them, that they are gardeners and that the (so called) neighbour requests that they go into the premises to cut down or trim a tree or branches. This could lead to criminal activities. It is not safe for a stranger to enter your premises. Please phone your neighbour to confirm. Do not let any stranger enter your house, or do not even open the gate for strangers.
Keep Laptops safe with a lockable cable
Secure laptops by a strong, lockable steel cable which is attached to a table leg or strong bolt underneath the table. The cable is very difficult to cut. All laptops have this facility and the cable is available at all computer shops.
The thief most likely doesn't walk around with a bolt cutter and probably won't have time to remove the cable.
With laptops being such desirable items in house robberies, we thank Robert, The Hireman for this handy tip. As he says, “Don’t think it can’t happen to me”.
Ongoing Phone Scam
South African consumers need to be wary of a phone scam that has left some victims hundreds of rands out of pocket. Scammers are using several well-known brands, including Microsoft, to fool people into believing that something is wrong with their computers.
The scam typically unfolds in the following manner:
- A cold caller, claiming to be a representative of Microsoft, one of its brands or a third party contracted by Microsoft, tells the victim they are checking into a computer problem, infection or virus that has been detected by Microsoft. Recent reports indicate they are asking for the resident by name!
- They will trick consumers into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge them for the removal of this software.
- They tell the victim they can help and direct them to a website that then allows the scammers to take control of the computer remotely, adjusting the settings and leaving the computer vulnerable.
- The cold caller will then spend some time on the computer trying to demonstrate where the ‘problems’ are and in the process convinces the victim to pay a fee for a service that will fix the computer.
Cybercriminals often use public phone directories to harvest consumer names and personal information, thereby garnering consumer trust in the sheer level of knowledge they appear to offer about them. These callers claim to be from Windows Helpdesk, Windows Service Centre, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Support, Windows Technical Department Support Group and even Microsoft’s Research and Development Team.
In reality, there is nothing wrong with these computers but the scammer has tricked the consumer into believing there is a problem and that paying the fee is the best way to get it fixed. Often they will also push the customer to buy a one year computer maintenance subscription. They are just trying to steal money from innocent people.
Don’t be fooled, it is not practice at Microsoft to cold call consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs or viruses.In the rare instance where Microsoft might contact consumers directly, the caller will be able to verify the existence of a current customer relationship.
A few basic pieces of advice can help South African consumers from being taken in by this and other scams:
- Do not purchase software or services over the telephone.
- If there is a fee associated with the service, hang up.
- Consumers should never authorise remote control over a computer to a third party unless they can confirm that they are legitimate representatives of a computer support team with whom they are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information and report them to the South African Police Services (08600 10111) immediately.
- Never provide credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
- If anyone fears they may already have been scammed, they should:
- Change the computer password, change the email password and change the password for any financial accounts (including bank and credit cards);
- Scan their computer to find out if they have malware installed;
- Keep an eye on bank accounts and report any potentially fraudulent activities immediately;
- Ensure the operating system is full updated and that all security updates are installed; and
- Make sure the system is protected with strong passwords that are changed regularly. It-Online >>
- Enable GPS Tracking on your Phone
- Make sure you enable tracking on you phone. In one incident reported to SAPS and HBNW a smartphone stolen in Llandudno was tracked and found in Camps Bay. So it is an excellent idea to get the tracking application enabled, as this will provide similar valuable intelligence should it be stolen along with other valuables from your house or car.
- If you are in doubt as to how to enable this feature, click here to find out more. or contact your mobile Service Provider.
- Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it..
- If you use a GPS don't put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a shop or a garage) so you can still get directions to your home area if you are returning from a strange place, but no one else would know where you live, if your GPS were stolen. There are stories of people who have had a GPS stolen from their car, as well as house keys and remotes. With these items in their possession, and a knowledge of your home address, thieves can readily empty your house of all your valuables before you are even aware of the initial theft!
Security lights on the outside of your house improve the physical protection of your house.The lights should be directed away from the house and must allow the occupants to use the windows without being observed from outside. Be aware of possible shadows and blind spots.
Theft out of Vehicles - always one of the highest categories of reported crime!
Theft out of Vehicle remains one of the highest categories of crime in the valley. In almost all incidents, something of value has been left in the car.
Be sure to remove all items of value from your vehicles when parking. Even a jacket or a blanket is a smash-and-grab opportunity to a casual stroller. Suspects will even look for the suction cup marks on windscreens from the GPS unit and break a window to check if unit is in cubby hole.
In rainy weather check parked cars for wipe marks - "shopping" criminals will wipe moisture from side windows to see whether there are valuables in the vehicle. If you see this tell tale sign on parked vehicles, report to Watchcon as criminals are shopping!
Reflective Numbering - Ensure your house is easily identifiable.
At a past HBNW AGM it was noted that many Hout Bay residents do not have adequate identification on their houses. In any type of emergency, be it of a security, fire or medical nature, the emergency personnel often have great difficulty finding their way to the correct residence.
Reflective numbering will alleviate this problem. "Emergency personnel find that their services are delayed when members need to search for residences due to the fact that many houses have no numbers on them, or numbers are placed where they cannot be seen. These delays are very frustrating and we need to get involved to rectify the matter. In addition there are no street lights to assist personnel in finding your residence in the case of an emergency. If you look around in your neighbourhood, I am 100% positive that you will find many examples of this."
Install reflective numbers at the most strategic spot which will illuminate when a vehicle passes with normal headlights switched on. If emergency services need to respond, there will be no need to search for your residence and these saved minutes could save your life.