An upsurge in incidents of housebreaking in Harare has prompted Safeguard Security, one of the country's leading security organisations, to warn householders in the capital to be extra careful in safeguarding their belongings.
A Safeguard spokesperson urged people to lock up their houses earlier in the evenings and to ensure the front and back doors of their house were kept locked at all times, unless protected by a security screen when left open.
Even when a house was protected by burglar bars and security screens, it was still necessary to exercise caution by ensuring valuable items or keys were not left within reach of a window or door, remembering that thieves often fish items out of a house by means of a long stick.
Sometimes people left valuable items or keys so close to the window that a long stick was not even needed to access them, he said.
He cited an incident in which an Xpanda gate across an open door was closed and locked but the keys left close by, enabling a thief to reach in and take the keys, which were then used to unlock the screen and gain access to the house.
"Make sure that keys and valuables are, as far as possible, out of sight and not left close to windows. It is wise to keep your outside doors locked at all times. You never know when an intruder may show up," he said.
He emphasised the importance of instructing children and domestic staff never to allow anyone they did not know onto the premises, even if the person at the gate claimed to be a relative of the family or to have been sent by the home owner to fix a problem.
"If you are expecting a repairman or a relative, make sure the domestic staff know about it. If somebody turns up that you have not told them about they should not let that person in without first contacting you to seek permission to allow them onto the premises," he said.
"Where security is concerned, it is always better to be safe than sorry," he added.
He urged people not to keep cash at home or at the office. "Cash has increasingly become the prime target of thieves and robbers. The shortage of cash has meant that those who steal it can often make money from selling it at a premium," he said.