Abandoned homes in many suburbs across Johannesburg pose a security risk to residents in the area. This week Fidelity ADT’s Specialised Intervention Unit joined Mondeor SAPS and members of the Community Policing Forum to check on some of the abandoned homes in the area.
Linda Goodenough, Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT says the problem with abandoned homes is that they often end up luring criminals and result in other illegal activity which places all residents at risk. “Our search this week uncovered one suspect illegally occupying a home and in possession of drugs and dagga,” she says.
It is a difficult problem to manage but if you do have any abandoned house in your street, here are a couple of things that you can do to keep you and your family safe:
- If you are not on a neighbourhood WhatsApp group as yet, make contact with the Local Community Policing forum to find out which group you can belong to. Advise this group you would like to join. You can then be privy to trends and incidents in your area.
- As a suburb try and locate the abandoned home owner and appeal to them to at least keep the shrubs trimmed as you do not want this property to fall into disrepair. If you see any broken windows or gates, also make contact with the owner if you can. The owner must make sure the house is locked, as it can draw curious teenagers and illegal tenants and criminals. If you cannot make contact with the owner, contact your nearest CPF or SAPS to check that the doors are locked, windows are shut and the garages and any sheds in the garden is not accessible
- If your home is directly next door to the abandoned property it may be worth putting up exterior lighting outside your home on the side that faces the abandoned house. A well-lit property is safer than when it is dark. Motion-sensing lights which will turn on if a prowler comes within range are a good deterrent to any potential intruders.
- Keep an eye out. Look for any unusual activity such as people entering or leaving. If you see a vehicle, take note of the license plate and notify the police
- Last but not least. Keep children away from these homes. They are not to go near theses homes, especially if there is a swimming pool that is not fenced off.
- If you cannot find the owner, be the good neighbour in the hood to cut the lawn on the pavement and to trim down bushes where potential criminals can hide when they see a police car or security car doing patrols.