Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal police have warned residents not to keep a vast amount of jewellery at home because they have noticed a number of cases where criminals target homes especially for jewellery.

Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane, police spokesperson, said an impression is created that criminals already know which homes have plenty of jewellery.

“If you have a lot of jewellery at your home it is possible that those close to you, including your family, friends or employees might be leaking information to criminals,” said Zwane.

He advised homeowners to opt for safety deposit boxes for their jewellery.

“You are putting yourselves and your families at risk by keeping items of extremely high value and large sums of cash at home,” said Zwane.

On Tuesday, he said, three armed men entered a home at Orient Heights in Mountain Rise, Pietermaritzburg. The men forced the door open and threatened the owner and family with firearms and fled with a large amount of jewellery in their getaway vehicle. A case of robbery was opened at Mountain Rise police station.

Recently, Blue Security has been reporting on quite a few home invasions where jewellery was taken.

In January, armed robbers entered a Pinetown residence and fled with electronics, jewellery, house keys and a safe.

In November, a Westville family was held up at knife point and a panga after a group of men jumped over the fence and into the property, gaining access through the laundry room. The men demanded money, jewellery and cell phones before fleeing the scene.

In December, a Durban North man was injured after a gang of armed men entered his home and demanded to know where the safe was. After showing them, the men ripped it off the wall and fled the scene with jewellery, money, cellphones, laptops, televisions and a digital video recorder.

In another incident, a Chatsworth domestic helper turned on her elderly employer and held her at knife point. The helper forced the employer to open her safe before fleeing the scene with jewellery, keys and a remote panic button.

In an ongoing trial, Shakila Singh, a Musgrave woman was killed following a home invasion in February 2016. Two men had entered her home suffocated her and robbed her of her jewellery, cellphones, two tablets and R1 000. It is believed that one of the accused had learnt from Singh’s domestic helper that Singh had many pieces of gold and diamond jewellery, money and foreign currency kept at her home.

Zwane said jewellery store owners are also cautioned to take extra precautions and strengthen their security measures for the safety of their jewellery. Police have warned store owners to beware of criminals who pretend to be customers.

Daily News