Burglary Stories #2: Edgemead Window Smashing

burglar stories cape townToward the end of last year (2013), there was a spate of window smashing in the quieter areas near Edgemead (and surrounds).

We’re not referring to the quick & quiet smash of a small window pane to get to a handle or squeeze inside while the inhabitants were out.
These intruders targeted the home at night, while the family were sleeping & tried to gain entry by unclipping the aluminium window frame (abroken glass recent common method of attempted entry). Once they became fed up with not being able to get in this way (partly because of additional sealing on the inner part of the frame), they picked up a rock lying in the garden and brazenly threw it through an extremely large, fixed (non-opening) window pane to shatter it. The window shattered loudly, but they were too fast to be stopped.

They were in & out of the house in minutes, making off with electronics & other valuables before the home’s inhabitants could get downstairs to investigate. To tell the truth, most homeowners would not really want to investigate until the danger of encountering a burglar were gone. The thieves had a getaway car, and it’s been mentioned that the street was poorly lit.

What do we recommend?

Burglary & other crime trends are hard to predict. We recommend that you first get to know what kind of trends have been common in your area,  but that you also prepare for any eventuality (nobody expects the type of care-free destruction shown by the intruders in this story)

We also recommend that you take advantage of preventative methods. Think beyond just arming, alarming & barricading (although we suggest that you have these in place as well, just in case!). Get signage that tells would-be intruders that your property is monitored & that your possessions are tracked (e.g. as with DataDot in a previous post or with Thorne’s freely available security sign).

We also suggest that you have a very well-lit home, using good quality motion-sensor lighting.

Keep emergency numbers & telephones handy (in your bedroom) in case of an intrusion.

Join your local neighbourhood watch group, so that you can be alerted of crime trends in the area. You can also help to keep a lookout for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood (interesting note: don’t fall prey to the harassing nature of some of the neighbourhood watch groups you may come across. It’s possible that being too intimidating creates an exclusive & potentially tense & violent environment. Be inclusive & understand your community – including those who don’t own houses there but move through regularly).

Get to know your local police representatives. They’ll help keep you informed & you may even do some good in motivating them by making their jobs easier & more rewarding.

Get smash-proof window film or burglar bars on your fixed window panes as well as on your openings. Remember to ensure that you do have a fire exit, though, in case of emergencies.

Have a look out in your garden & also out on the street if there are any handy tools or items that can be used to penetrate your home. Cut large branches which may overhang your fence, and so forth. Rocks, however, are as opportunistic as it gets & the one in this story came from the neighbour’s garden. If the burglar hadn’t found that rock, something else would certainly have presented itself.

Insure your household items.

If you can afford it, get outside security beams – and don’t forget to set your alarms! So many forget to do this because of the inconvenience. Alarms may just protect you by delaying the intruder a few seconds or minutes.

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