Coastal residents urged to be more vigilant against crime

The attack earlier this week on two elderly women in their home in Swakopmund, by three masked intruders, is a wake-up call for coastal residents to revisit their protocols for personal safety.

Criminals continue their sprees in all the coastal towns. There were several armed robberies at businesses. Burglaries at homes and businesses are frequent in all the coastal towns, and during the day criminals roam the streets committing theft from motor vehicles, pick-pocketing and snatching hand bags or cell phones from people’s hands and running off.
In the latest incident three men, masked and armed with a knife, a panga and a pistol, entered a house in Swakop-mund’s Fischreier Street on Tuesday morning early.
They gained access to the house by removing the glass panel from an aluminium window frame of the house. They then tied up a female caretaker in the house and also confronted an elderly lady in her room and also tying her up.
The armed robbers fled with N$400 in cash, a small safe and other valuables.
Crime is rife in all our coastal towns. We as citizens however, must appreciate the serious-ness of the situation. We must take responsibility for our personal protection and the protection of our property. We can only do that by making our homes and our businesses safe against robberies and burglaries.
Furthermore, we must not present criminals with opportunities by letting valuables lying open in parked vehicles, or walk with valuables like cell phones, purses and handbags without staying alert of our surroundings and suspicious people around us.

Here are a few examples where people can improve safety at their or sensors on the glass linked to an alarm system. Burglars are more likely to target homes where there is no burglar bars.
*Aluminum window frames are particularly vulnerable as burglars know the glass are only kept in place by a snap-on frame. Ensure to fit burglar bars to these windows or hire someone to remove the glass and glue it in place with a silicone-base adhesive before placing back the snap-on frame.
*Entrance doors need to be fitted with a security gate and fit additional latches on the inside. That prevents burglars from breaking open the door from outside or opening the door should they use a master key or screw driver to force open the lock.
*Garages: Many homeowners have garages that locks up with a padlock. Padlocks are vulnerable in the sense it is only as strong as the latch on which it is used.
*An alarm system is the preferred security measure. It is an investment in your safety, improves your home’s market value and can reduce your insurance premium.
*Dogs: pay attention to your animal’s behaviour, especially at night. Dogs that are usually quite at night, but unexpectedly barking up to a point it is becoming a nuisance, are usually alerted by the presence of someone in the immediate area. Burglars often stay in hiding for hours waiting for the right moment to strike.
The perfect situation is to have a smaller dog sleep inside, in order to serve as that extra warning barrier in the event of unwanted attention to your home.
*House parties or during extreme weather: criminals often target homes where people are partying. Especially after the partygoers go to sleep, as they are then most probably in a deep sleep and not woken by any unusual noise.
When the wind blows heavily at night it creates what is known as “white noise” which makes it difficult to hear burglars breaking a window or removing burglar bars.
*Don’t place valuables like cell phones and wallets near open windows. Burglars can steal it through the window without waking the victim.
*Don’t let valuables such as laptops and cameras stand around in the house. Find places to put these valuables away where burglars are most likely not to search for it.
*Lock gates at night and don’t allow valuables to stay outside which draws attention. These include hose pipes, and other gardening equipment, camping chairs, bicycles etc.
*Look out for your neighbours and let them look out for you. When moving around in your neighbourhood, pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure to have emergency numbers at hand.
*Don’t leave valuables in your car.
*When moving around in town, stay alert for thieves and pickpockets. Report suspicious persons to your nearest security guard, patrolling policeman or phone the police charge office.

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