Cape Town – Criminals have found savvier ways to work around electric fencing.
A social media post has been doing the rounds where a plastic rake is used to hold up electric fencing.
The wires can be seen lifted and a space made available to gain entry.
The Parow Community Policing Forum (CPF) shared this post on their social media page to warn community members.
Vice-chairperson of the CPF, Roger Cannon, said their message was for people to rather take their old stuff and throw it at the dump rather than leave them at their bin like the rakes.
“These things are being used by criminals to gain entry.
“It started when people use to have those spikes on their fences.
“They would throw out old carpets and the criminals would use this to lay over the spikes to get in.
“Now they are using anti-shock materials for the electric fences,” said Cannon.
Verena Hulme, Cape Town North District manager at Fidelity ADT said: “We are aware of social media reports in Cape Town about this new trend involving a rake.
“There have also been similar reports in parts of Pretoria.
“Our colleagues in Cape Town have also reported cases where suspects try to dig underneath a wall to circumvent the protection offered by an electric fence.
“This type of electrified perimeter protection, we recommend, should be used alongside another form of perimeter measures such as infra-red sensors or motion-activated lights and cameras, to further prevent or deter unlawful access to your property.”
She added vigilance and accurate information are vital tools in the fight against crime.
Her advice to residents is to always be aware of what is happening in their suburbs and to be alert to any suspicious activity.
“If you have become victim to an incident such as the one involving rakes, we ask that you report it to the police so that they can track it and determine if this is a new crime trend developing.
“Cape Town is still experiencing bouts of planned and unplanned power interruptions and load shedding along with the rest of the country, and we recommend that homeowners ensure they have battery backup systems in place that will still offer them proper protection even during a power cut,” said Hulme.
John Rossouw, special operations manager at Red Security, said criminals would sometimes use rakes to continuously set off alarms making it annoying for the people in the household, causing them to disarm the alarm, which then allowed criminals to gain entry to the property.
“This has been around for years although we are not aware of any certain area where this is taking place now with the rakes. Sometimes they would throw clothing or a blanket onto the fence to gain entry.
“This is just one of the many methods that are used,” said Rossouw.
Barbara Breedt, general manager at the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District, said criminals would use a Y-shaped stick to lift the wires on the electric fence then crawl under it.
She said that was not the only way, they also dig under the bottom of electric fences.
“The bottom of the fence would not usually be electrified because of the grass and plants so they would dig under it and gain entry.
“Now electric fences are being put at an angle so that the wires cannot be lifted at the same time,” said Breedt.