Open houses are now the latest crime spots.

South Africa has seen a rash increase of robberies taking place during show days.

With the easy access that comes with open house viewings it leaves the homes more vulnerable to theft, showing your home to strangers when you’re trying to sell it increases your security risk.

The common modus operandi has been that the criminals come into the house under the pretence of being interested in viewing the property as potential buyers or renting it.

Often these robberies turn violent with thieves brandishing weapons to hold whomever is in the house hostage in order to ransack the property.

Not only can valuables be removed without your knowledge but criminals can pose as interested buyers or case your house for a potential future robbery.

One of the best precautions is to ensure that there is a security guard present during a show day, who can be provided, free of charge, by the estate agency.

Here are more tips on how to safeguard your home against theft during show days:

- Lock your valuables away.

- If someone stands in for your agent on show day, insist on meeting them first.

- Alert your private security service provider that your home will be on show and ask them to stop by during the afternoon.

- Do not leave spare keys within reach of visitors

- Ensure that your drawers and cabinets are locked.

- Consider “by appointment” viewings as an alternative to a show day.

- Lock away anything that could be used for identity theft such as identity documents, invoices, receipts, vehicle registration papers and photographs.

- Make sure not to leave keys in doors. Keys can easily be copied or stolen.

- Give the estate agent access to a panic button.

- Compile a home contents inventory and make sure that you have home contents insurance in place. Your home contents should be insured for their replacement value.

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