“If property owners do not take collective action as a neighbourhood community, the affect on everyone’s property values in that neighbourhood could be very negative”, says Cape Town real estate broker, Andre de Villiers from Cape Town.
De Villiers was previously a Neighbourhood Watch Chairperson for a popular Cape Town coastal suburb. “My experience is that there are far too few residents prepared to get involved in neighbourhood security unless there is a dramatic spike in crime or a violent attack. The majority of residents it seems are only too happy to leave the collective security concerns to someone else”.
“As the owner of four real estate offices in Cape Town, I can confirm that buyers are increasingly asking agents for more details about security issues in the neighbourhood of the house they are interested in. The focus on the individual house’s security is correctly seen as something that can be resolved by the buyer, but the area’s reputation and crime statistics are a greater concern, as a buyer knows this will probably be an issue that falls outside their immediate control.”
There is certainly a demand for reliable data but this is not as easy to obtain as some may think. Many smaller incidents are not reported to the police and many private security services treat their information as confidential and many neighbourhood watch groups are understandably concerned that their neighbourhood could suffer if their efficiency in keeping records resulted in a negative message!
“I think any professional estate agent should have some reasonable methodology to answer security questions from buyers objectively about the neighbourhood. We can’t put our head in the sand over this issue and a lack of access to reliable data is certainly a challenge,” said de Villiers.
The message to property owners is to ‘buy in’ to the responsibility of keeping their neighbourhood safe and crime free through collective action, and thereby collecting a ‘collective security dividend’. “Imagine if you will, a pocket of houses that is able to claim and where the seller or agent can statistically show, that the subject area is the safest area in this suburb! If that’s not a great selling feature then, as a real estate professional with over thirty years experience, I am not sure what is!” said de Villiers.
Every day we make mistakes that leave our homes vulnerable to a break-in. A burglar will always choose the easiest target and that’s good news for you – it means you have a lot of influence on whether you become a victim or not.
Hiding keys by doorways – leaving keys near door ways is very risky as you risk someone duplicating your key and breaking in whenever they want.
Leaving out mail – an overflowing mailbox is a good sign that no one is home as well as it allows criminals to steal your mail and gain personal information.
Open windows – windows are often the easiest entry point for burglars to access your home as doors can be sturdy and deadlocked.
Leaving valuables in sight – valuables should be left out sight so that burglars and stored away as expensive items signal that you have money and is a clear indicator to a burglar that your home is worth targeting.
No visible security – securing your home with burglar bars and visible security measures is a huge deterrent to burglars.
Not maintaining your yard – a messy yard is a signal to a burglar that you are an easy target as untrimmed trees and hedges make for potential hiding places.
Updating social media – avoid using social media to let strangers know your whereabouts as you never know who is following you online.
A lifeless home – leaving lights and the TV / Radio on a timer can signal to a burglar that someone is home.
The Kirstenhof Community Police Forum will be holding their 2014 AGM this Thursday 13 November at 19h30 at The Range on Orpen Road, Tokai. This will be a regular AGM with the usual approvals and annual report backs. This year there will also be an election of the Executive Committee for a 5-year term in office.
South Africa’s trusted tip-off service since 1992.
In two decades the anonymity of not even one informer has been compromised. We all have a responsibility to make South Africa safer for our children and every law-abiding citizen.
If you have information that can assist in exposing people involved in illegal activities, please contact us anonymously when you know:
WHO DID WHAT TO WHOM, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW?
Remember, the detectives are keen to follow up your information. Please give as many details as possible.
The Kirstenhof Crime Watch camera on the corner of Lente and Tokai Roads, has already played an integral part in the arrests of suspects in incidents of crime and to support the expansion drive of the KCW,Chas Everitt has as a committed local business and indeed a commercial resident in the area donated a R3000 shortfall to finance an additional camera.
According to Andre de Villiers of Chas Everitt’s Kirstenhof / Tokai office (opposite the BP Garage on Tokai Road) it is crucial that all local businesses assist to the extent they can in these efforts as criminal activity has reached a point in the area where unless addressed it could affect property values negatively.
The efforts of the dedicated and hard working team at KCW are a credit to the area, and we can also be very pleased to have a responsive local police station where there is an excellent relationship with the community.
As estate agents active in the Constantiaberg area we have seen many examples where the community has stood together taken back “their streets” and as criminal activity is brought under control prices swing up again. One of the first questions buyers have today about every property is “what is the crime like in this neighbourhood?” It is thus in the interest of every property and business owner to stand together and take the issue of crime very seriously as it impacts substantially and directly on the asset value of property as well as lifestyles of residents.
Kirstenhof residents are to be advised that there is a man going to houses and businesses in Kirstenhof and stealing items when people are caught off guard.
He has a sworn affidavit from Kirstenhof police with their stamp on it, stating he lost his wife, child and home in a fire. He goes under the name of William, 50 years or older, slender build and his eyes are a bit squint.
A case has been opened at the Kirstenhof Police Station. Please keep an eye out for him. He was last seen wearing grey smart pants and a yellow short sleeve checkered shirt.
Please don’t be reassured by a police stamp that all is okay. The police have no record kept of any affidavit, no copy of ID’s either, so there are people using this as their ticket onto your property.
A resident from Kirstenhof has recently reported that her car was remote jammed at Blue Route Mall. Criminals use jamming devices to prevent drivers from locking their vehicles and unknown to the driver the jammers access and steal items from their cars with no signs of forced entry.
Several thefts out of motor vehicles have been reported over the last few months that were parked at various shopping malls in Cape Town South. None of the vehicles sustained any damage, and it has been assumed that thieves are using remote jamming devices.
Below are nine tips to avoid remote jamming:
Never leave items of interest lying in full view on car seats while driving or when leaving your car parked.
Park your car in a secure car park where there are lots of other vehicles and ideally, security personnel.
Lock your car when driving and when leaving it parked. When using a remote, physically double-check that your car has in fact been successfully locked.
Empty your car at the end of each day to avoid it becoming cluttered with items that you don’t want stolen.
Never leave house keys, your GPS or important papers in your car.
Don’t leave the car’s registration papers in it.
Install an alarm system in your car.
Install window safety film.
Ensure that you have adequate insurance cover on portable possessions you carry with you on a regular basis.
The Kirstenhof Crime Watch is holding their AGM on Thursday 21 August at 19h00 for 19h30 at the Kirstenhof Primary School Hall. Please make every effort to attend. If your neighbours are not receiving the Kirstenhof Crime Watch e-mails, please let them know about the AGM.
For more information email the Kirstenhof Crime Watch: email@example.com
Reward Offered of R5000 by Chas Everitt Constantiaberg for the successful prosecution of the person that committed the pellet gun incident! The cat is probably not the only victim and someone knows who is doing this! If it is not stopped this will also not be the last victim either! The person responsible needs to be identified and get treatment. This is an area with strong sense of community – someone knows who this is!
If you have any information regarding the person/s involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents report: Friday 1 August: 16:00 our cat was at home on our drive way in Ferdinand Road and he was fine. 18:30 he was at our front door meowing excessively, we saw that his front left paw was broken. We immediately took him to our vet who confirmed with X-ray that he had been shot with a pellet gun. Our vet indicated that whom ever shot him, was out to do fatal damage. He has undergone major surgery by a specialist and it will take him a year to recover fully. We have lived in Kirstenhof in excess of 20 years and have never experienced anything like this as Kirstenhof is a wholesome community. Since we have discovered that this had happened to another cat in our road a couple of weeks ago, we are very worried about the safety of our animals and children.
NOTE FROM KCW: If you have any information regarding the person/s involved, please reply to this e-mail. It is illegal to shoot pellet guns in suburban areas. The pellets used in this attack were metal pellets which could do serious damage to anyone and especially small children. If you have been the victim of an attack similar to this one, please reply to this e-mail. We need to gather as much information as possible and to open as many cases as possible with SAPS.