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How to handle a burglary

Call the SAPS Emergency number immediately: 10111

  • You can also contact your nearest police station - details can be found on the SAPS website.
  • Wait until fingerprints and statements are taken before touching anything.
  • Do not allow private security companies to enter the house or touch anything before the police have arrived. The crime scene shouldn't be disturbed as vital evidence could be lost.
  • A list of the make, model, and serial numbers of electrical appliances and other valuable equipment should always be available for investigation purposes.
  • If there has been sexual violence, don't wash until you've seen the District Surgeon as vital evidence could be lost.

Before the police arrive, try to make notes of the following:

  • What the robbers were wearing
  • What type of weapons they used
  • Any physical characteristics you can remember such as height, weight, hair, any memorable features such as tattoos, scars
  • If they arrived in a vehicle, what type, colour, registration
  • The direction they left in, if you saw them leave
  • What language they were speaking

If possible, ask all those present during the robbery to write down these details because different people notice different things. Keep these notes separately for the police as they could be vital during an investigation.

If you have any information or intelligence on criminal activity, contact SAPS CRIMESTOP on 08600 10111. Tip-offs can be done anonymously.

Trauma advice

A robbery is a shocking experience, even if there was no violence involved. You may well feel violated, powerless and vulnerable. Others may seem to cope but show extreme behaviour such as hyper-vigilance, quickly angry, nightmares or anxiety attacks. It's advisable to get expert trauma advice and/or counselling after a robbery, even if you feel you're handling it well. There are many organisations that can help; one of these is Lifeline. Phone them to talk through your experience or to make an appointment for trauma advice through their Trauma Debriefing Unit.

Lifeline national crisis helpline 0861 322 322


* Information true and correct at the time of publish
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