An increase in the number of house break ins, armed robberies and theft at homes in the Parkhurst, Parkwood, Parktown North, Dunkeld and Melrose North areas over the past two months has highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant when contractors are working in your neighbourhood. In July and August Fidelity ADT recorded 14 incidents within their footprint.
Carlos Pronto, Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT, says the incidents have been mainly opportunistic and of the 14 incidents, 11 took place during the day.
He says there are several reasons why contract workers and casual labourers can pose a security threat to residents:
- Often, illegal immigrants are employed to work on construction sites, for a fraction of the wage paid to contract workers. These illegal immigrants aren’t registered and their fingerprints are therefore not on record.
- Contract workers usually arrive on site at the time most residents leave for work and often before the domestic workers have arrived. They leave site again before the residents return and after the domestic workers have gone home. Often, in the absence of anyone at home, the alarm is not armed.
- These workers have ample opportunity to observe residents’ movements.
- They have access to ladders and other tools to access properties or force doors/windows open.
- Where there isn’t strict adherence to access control procedures for contract workers, these workers often remain on site undetected overnight to avoid transport costs.
According to Pronto, the only measure which plays a major role in curbing crime by contractors is movement control. This implies patrol guards or patrol vehicles that stop and question contractors who are found away from their actual building site.
“It is important to limit the movement of contractors to their site and most security providers do search building sites after hours to ensure no workers are still there.
“The most common types of crimes committed by contract workers on an estate are petty theft, burglaries and theft from other contractors. Of course, they also use this opportunity to gather information on likely targets for burglaries, etc.” Pronto says.
He therefore urges residents to be vigilant and responsible about their personal security at all times, especially if there is an active construction site near your residence.