Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Know the risks when there is construction in your neighbourhood

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A recent attempted house break has once again highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant when contractors are working in your neighbourhood.

In August Fidelity ADT reported three incidents, two in Gallo Manor and one in Morningside where the common denominator potentially appeared to be contractors working on nearby projects. In the latest incident which happened just yesterday, 15 September on Wendy Road, Morningside, five suspects gained access to a property by cutting the razor wire between the two homes. The homeowner’s neighbour currently has a construction company renovating his house. Fortunately the homeowner spotted the intruders and shouted at them causing them to flee the property by jumping over the wall. A chase ensued and Fidelity ADT Reaction Officer Mabunda managed to apprehend one of the s suspects and hand him over to Sandton SAPS.

Aslam Munsur, Business Development Manager for Fidelity ADT, says it’s important for homeowners to avoid contractors who are undocumented and avoid employing or picking up street contractors from random intersections. Home Owners need to vet their contractors via a company or personally vet the building contractors and all their employees

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 Munsur, 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.” Munsur 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.