Free police patrols keep your home safe this holiday

Residents who are going away for the holidays can sign up with the police for the house-under-supervision scheme.

This scheme is free, and residents are not required to pay anything; however, police do not guard the house, instead they conduct patrols to prevent illegal break-ins.

Acting Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele, said this facility is meant to curb against house break-ins.

“Under the house-under-supervision scheme, you register that you will be away and ask the police to take care of your house. But we don’t guard your house, we just patrol looking to see if everything is normal. If we see an anomaly, where the windows are closed, we quickly call you,” she said during a Press Club Discussion about the festive season and crime prevalence on Thursday at the Bulawayo Media Centre.

“You can register with the Officer in Charge or the Community Liaison Officer at the police station.”

Msebele confirmed that residents do not have to pay anything to be eligible for this service and was applicable to both landlords and tenants.

“When going out to your rural area, whether you are the owner or you are renting that property,  it is your property. You don’t pay to register. When we do the patrols, we also ask your neighbours if they have heard or seen anything so that they quickly report to us. When we patrol we use bicycles or horseback,” Msebele said.

Msebele said unlawful entry and theft were common cases during the festive season as people often announced that they were travelling or posted on social media. 

“Right now, others have posted that ‘I’m out to Dubai or Victoria Falls and nowadays criminals use technology to check your whereabouts. They know that in that household, there are three people and check on your Facebook account that you have all gone,” she said, stating that robbers had become technologically savvy.

“When they know that your house is vacant, they get inside in the morning and knock off in the night after sweeping your house clean because you would have advertised that you are not around. They can even cook isitshwala. So it is risky to advertise that you’re away. Better inform your neighbours so that they will watch and check.”

Msebele added that residents must also be members of the neighbourhood watch committees in their area.

“Support the neighbourhood watch committee or initiative. So that when people see a truck loading your goods and know that you are not in, they will inform you and mobilise each other,” she said. 

Msebele also advised companies to employ security guards from reputable companies and not to just pick anyone to guard their premises.

“Don’t pick defenceless persons. Use the cash-in-transit services to transport your money. Last year we had a case where a company was using a dead kombi to collect money from six different outlets and at the end of day, it was robbed. It’s better to pay US$100 for guarding services than lose US$10 000,” Msebele said.

She also said supermarkets must also make use of hour or two hourly intervals to cash out money from the tills.

“You see cashiers with a bunch of 100 US dollar notes in the till and even you can see that is a lot of money, which attracts robbers. If a robber checks five tills, they can go out with loot, even if he comes with a toy pistol, you can be robbed, then people cry ‘armed robbery.’ Take hourly or two hourly intervals where you take that money to a safer place. That US$100 can not be used for change. Let’s prevent robbery and theft,” said Msebele.

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