Criminals now targeting solar panels

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Installing quality CCTV cameras around your premises will help SAPS with investigations and will also deter opportunistic criminals. PHOTO: Supplied

In line with the energy crisis, more homeowners are investing in energy-savvy products which have become appealing to criminals.

Charnel Hattingh, Fidelity ADT’s spokesperson, said a new trend is emerging where criminals are targeting solar panels.

She said as criminals continue to shift and change their patterns and behaviour, it is essential that homeowners keep up with trends and better ways to secure their homes

Over the past few weeks, we have received reports of solar panels being stolen from properties, typically during the day whilst homeowners are at work. The Phoenix and Verulam areas have been particularly hard hit with reports of at least one solar panel being stolen every week.

In order to stay one step ahead of opportunistic criminals, Hattingh said it is important to make your home less of a target by making it as hard as possible for criminals to successfully carry out their plans on your property.

Hattingh offers these safety tips:
• Always have barrier security installed such as electric fences, beams, sensor lights, burglar bars and interior detection.

• Ensure that your yard is well-lit at all times.

• Lock tools and garden equipment away. Don’t let your stepladder be the means by which criminals get onto your balcony or roof.

• Never leave your wheelie bin out overnight as criminals not only use these to climb on, but they also use them to transport stolen goods.

• Cut away excess shrubs and bushes as this serves as a good hiding spot for criminals.

• Always keep your alarm armed. Make use of the different features your alarm offers such as stay mode, sleep mode and away mode.

• Join your local neighbourhood watch and street WhatsApp groups.

• Having visible armed response signage can also serve as a deterrent.

• Installing quality CCTV cameras around your premises will help SAPS with investigations and will also deter opportunistic criminals.

“Remain vigilant and do not leave anything to chance. If you see anything suspicious in or around your neighbourhood, report it immediately to your private security company and local SAPS.”

The Citizen