Home owners are being warned to vet their domestic staff following several recent incidents in Melville, Westdene, Auckland Park, Brixton, Crosby, Hursthill, Fordsburg, Mayfair, Bosmont, Coronation and Sophiatown where domestic staff are believed to be involved in house robberies.
Fidelity ADT’s Community Development Manager, Natasha Springfield, says in one recent incident in Mayfair robbers got into the house and turned off all the CCTV cameras. They then tied up the children and stole TVs, cameras and so on before fleeing the scene with the two domestic workers. “We have had reports of other incidents of house robberies directly after domestic staff have been dismissed,” she says. “We are urging residents to do research into anyone they allow onto their property or into their homes to do any work. They should be sure that any contract worker, cleaner, construction worker or builder is trustworthy before they are granted access.
“The people you have employed to work in your house or on your property form a vital line of defense against crime. You need to know that you can trust them with your property,” she adds.
Springfield says that while doing the necessary background checks before hiring domestic staff or contract workers may seem like a time-consuming exercise it makes all the difference to your home security. “Often in cases of break-ins and house robberies, inside information has been shared with criminals,” she says.
She suggests starting with a criminal record check which can be obtained through the SAPS, with the potential employee or contractor’s consent.
She also recommends doing a reference check with previous employers. “Ask questions about dismissals, responsibilities, any security issues, punctuality, and so on. Their answers will give you a good idea of the person’s track record. Alternatively, always work through a professional placement agency that will do these checks for you,” she says.