Front door kickers ...the scourge of the suburbs


In the past few months, front door break-ins have become more and more commonplace in Nelson Mandela Bay. Although this is not a new phenomenon, it has become all too regular.

We’re seeing ‘teams’ of burglars who are carrying out these robberies, and much like the movies, they ‘employ’ experts at various burglary tactics. These individuals might specialise in gate bending and door kicking, explosives and safe cracking, roof breaks and ripping off alarm panels or armed robberies, and other techniques.

What we’ve noticed is that these criminals operate in groups of 3-4 depending on the nature of their planned heist. Their main target for theft is flat screen televisions. They do their research on the day that they plot to execute their plan - looking for easy targets – homes with weak front gates, easy access to the front door and then checking that no-one is home by ringing the bell first.

Front doors are relatively easy to kick down – they open inwards, and the small point of contact that the lock provides, ironically, provides them with the leverage required to kick in the door with one swift manoeuvre.

Their protocol is fairly straight forward – the front door specialist checks on the occupancy of the premises; signals the vehicle and then either pops the lock or bends the gate and kicks in the door to gain entry. They are well aware of how much time they have and generally carry out the burglary in under 2 minutes. His ‘wingman’ then enters and sweeps the home for small items – phones, tablets, smaller TVs, whilst the ‘kingpin’ disengages the main television from its mantle.

Once they have their loot, evidence shows that they drive to a nearby stand-down point and change vehicles before disappearing. In certain instances, we’ve found getaway vehicles, abandoned, no further than 15 minutes from the scene of the crime – with the criminals having made their getaway within a mere 10 minutes of committing the offence.

These are anything but opportunistic breaks, as most residents might think. They are well-planned and thought out. I would urge residents to make sure that they have a very sturdy front door gate as their first line of defence. Secondly, make sure you have more than one lock on your front door. If someone comes to your front door and you are suspicious, make it clear that you are home and that their presence is unwelcome. Call Atlas or the SAPS if you feel threatened.

Atlas has very strong ties with the SAPS - which has a major plan to take back the streets of this city. As co-protectors of the city, Atlas is assisting them wherever possible.

Tel: 041 401 2222 or email: [email protected] •