/ 1 February 2023

People turn to private safe deposit vaults over load-shedding theft fears

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There has been a 40% increase in queries for boxes at IBV International Vaults since January last year as cases of housebreaking rise. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More people have turned to private safe deposit vaults to protect their valuables due to load-shedding.

IBV International Vaults said it had seen a 40% increase in queries for safe deposit boxes since the beginning of 2022. IBV chief executive, Ashok Sewnarain, said load-shedding raised safety concerns and has significantly increased the vulnerability of homes.

He added that the rolling blackouts had weakened security measures such as electric fences, electric gates and alarm systems, and created more opportunities for criminals to take advantage.

“With housebreakings and home robberies on the rise, we’ve seen that an increasing number of households are turning to private vaults and safe deposit boxes for peace of mind in order to store their valuables and important documents,” said Sewnarain. 

According to Statistics South Africa’s victims of crime survey, about 983 000 households experienced a housebreaking or burglary in the 2021/2022 period — an average of 2 693 households every day.

Over the same period, another 155 000 experienced a home robbery that involved contact with criminals, an average of 424 households every day.

Security specialists have also warned that crime such as robberies and housebreakings have only increased over the past few months as load-shedding intensified, with the number of incidents rising during peak periods.
This story was first published in The Witness.