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While the cat’s away, the mice will play – at least, according to latest crime statistics, which reveal an alarming boom in housebreaking incidents and home robberies during the traditional holiday months of June and December in South Africa. So, before you whisk your family and loved ones away for a festive vacation, first ensure that your valuables and sentimental pieces are placed under secure lock and key, warns IBV International Vaults.

According to the 2021/22 Governance, Public Safety, and Justice Survey (GPSJS), the number of housebreaking incidents in December 2021 alone totalled an astronomic 146,000 – more than 60% higher than the following January, which saw just 90,000 incidents. Likewise, Statistics South Africa reveals that housebreaking incidents peaked in June and December during the 2018/19 period and June, September and December in 2019/20 – which all coincide with school holiday periods.

“There’s nothing more tempting to a thief than an unoccupied home during the holidays, giving burglars hours of uninterrupted time to rummage through your belongings and help themselves to your valuables,” says IBV Chief Executive Officer Ashok Sewnarain.

“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen time and time again, private security systems aren’t infallible, and they often aren’t strong enough to withstand determined or cunning criminals. Rather than tempt any sticky fingers, we strongly recommend storing any precious items in professional, internationally-rated vaults such as those at IBV – not just during December, but always.”

With a global footprint spanning Zurich, London and Dubai, IBV is a leading provider of secure storage solutions for security-conscious households, high net worth individuals, celebrities and businesses. Locally, the company boasts seven private safe deposit vault facilities across the country, including its flagship Umhlanga and Sandton branches, where it offers clients the latest in security technology in a variety of underground storage options. These include safety deposit boxes, vaults and private rooms.

Its world-class, ultra-secure facilities are specifically designed to withstand everything from natural disasters to criminal activity. Each vault features multi-tiered security systems with armoured doors, steel-lined walls, floors and ceilings, seismic detection and tactical teams.

Earlier this year, Standard Bank’s book of more than 20,000 safe custody clients found a new safe haven for their prized possessions following the sale of the bank’s business to IBV. As part of the deal, IBV also assumed management of its seven private safety deposit box facilities, which it has refurbished in line with best-in-class international vault standards.

While its safe deposit box sizes vary by location, its smallest box totals 325mm in length by 235mm in width and 49mm in height – plenty of space for most important documents such as wills or share certificates, as well as Krugerrands, coins, jewellery or even a few gold bullion bars.

By contrast, the largest standard safety deposit box on offer in South Africa totals 500mm in length by 300mm in width and 500mm in height for those with assets such as art or other collectables – although IBV does offer tailor-made solutions dependant on client needs, adds Sewnarain.

“The contents of each of our safety deposit boxes are kept strictly private and confidential, but encrypted USBs have also become popular in recent years among clients seeking a safe way to store cryptocurrencies,” he says.

“Ultimately, however, we would urge South Africans not to leave the protection of their priceless goods and valuables to chance, especially given the high risk of robberies and theft over the holiday. Enjoy the peace of mind you deserve by placing them in the secure facility that they require.”

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