The Western Cape has one of the highest incidences of burglary at residential properties in the country, and is second only to the Gauteng Province. Africa Check’s crime statistics state indicate 46 043 burglaries took place in the Western Cape in 2017.

Speaking to Huffington Post, senior lecturer in forensic and crime investigation at the University of South Africa, Professor Rudolph Zinn, analysed what burglars look for when targeting a house, and what may prevent these them from entering a residential property.

Zinn discovered that 68% were hindered by a secure outer perimeter during the act of breaking into a residential property, while 32% were scared off internal security systems.

School holidays present the perfect opportunity for burglars, as families are away.

Burglars in the Western Cape are notorious for their persistence, and even the overly cautious are not guaranteed complete safety from them.

Below are the markers that burglars look out for when targeting a home – use these tips to minimise the chances of being burgled these school holidays.

High Fences

Burglars spend time prior to a break-in doing surveillance on the targeted residence. The time spent on surveillance varies from burglar to burglar, and may range from half an hour to weeks. This is used to observe habits and patterns of the residence’s occupants, as well as to familiarise themselves with the layout of the home and neighbourhood. Many think that high fences and bushes are a great way to protect their property, but in reality, this provides a good hiding spot for burglars. Once they get over the fence or bush, they will be out of view from any potential onlookers or neighbours.


Mail piling up in your mailbox or newspaper left by the gate or driveway are a clear indicators that no one is home. When you go away for an extended period of time, ask a trusted neighbour to collect any newspapers or mail for you.

Location tags

Geolocation tags and those beautiful pictures of your getaway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter let tech-savvy burglars know when you’re not home. It is a good idea to share your holiday pictures after you have returned.

Hallway table

A table in a hallway is generally where people throw down their keys at the end of the day, but this is also the easiest place for a burglar to access them by sliding a hook through an open or broken window. Keep your keys away from prying eyes.

Glass door

Glass doors and doors with glass panels are easy to break. If you cannot replace these doors with something sturdier, it is a good idea to invest in additional security systems, such as cameras or an alarm.


Don’t leave cardboard boxes of your new TV, washing machine or expensive items lying in the bins outside – if you give burglars clues to what you have in your home, this makes their raid all the more enticing. It is a better idea to drop them off at your closest recycling hub or dispose of them at a rubbish dump.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.