Classifying criminals and their behaviour with two professionals

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Approaching two professionals submerged in the criminal world, Jan van Rensburg of Magenta Security, and for security reasons, a source who cannot be named from the Justice Department with 22 years experience—we learn what to look out for when identifying various criminals and their behaviour.  

Identifying a burglar

Van Rensburg explains that, as with most professions, burglaries have evolved throughout recent years. Unlike yesteryear, he points out, “These days, it is difficult to pinpoint perpetrators.”

However, he states it is imperative to highlight, 25% of all break-ins are inside jobs or information from an employee. “And if you hire someone to work in your garden for the day, it is virtually guaranteed that your home will be broken into.”

Furthermore, he explains that burglars are no longer restricting their working hours to nightfall. “At one stage, break-ins would take place 80% at night and only 20% of incidents occurring during the day. These days, it is 50/50.”

While agreeing with Van Rensburg that burglars are challenging to identify, the Justice Department source highlights that thieves can be classed into two groups: opportunistic and pre-meditated.

Opportunistic break-ins, he says, are primarily due to poor housekeeping. “This is when someone or a small group of individuals walk past a yard, see something and seize the moment. However, when it comes to pre-meditated burglaries, the planners will usually loiter around the area, which is why it is important to know your neighbours, so you can identify suspicious people.”

He further emphasises, when planning a break-in, the suspects will pull on gates to establish if there dogs on the premises and if these dogs are aggressive or not. “They will also usually have a lookout and a small and slender person with them, who can break into the house.”

Reflecting on this, Van Rensburg says that housebreakers often target homes with little to no burglar guards. “But there is often less damage to your property if you don’t have burglar guards, as these guys will break the burglar guards with a wheel spanner.”

The unnamed source adds to this, stating that professional thieves will often have a bag in their possession with the required tools to complete a break-in. 

Therefore, and with the above in mind, the two men highlight the following elements to be conscious of in our worlds:

  • Suspicious people loitering in your street.
  • Shady individuals with bags.
  • Whistling at night, as well as the sound of your gate being shaken.
  • Drifters looking for work in your garden.
  • Strange people strolling down your street, glancing into yards.

Van Rensburg points out; it is pivotal not to confront a burglar without caution. “They are usually armed with a knife or a firearm, or both.”

Identifying a drug dealer

Both Van Rensburg and the Justice Department source stress that identifying a drug dealer is exceptionally tricky.

However, the source stresses that one simply needs to study the small, odd things that don’t make sense. “One way is to look at their clothes and shoes, and if it lines up with what they do for a living. For example, if a guy who works at a car wash wears expensive shoes, it is more than likely he is not there to wash cars.”

Van Rensburg adds that drug dealers are oftentimes extremely friendly, not wanting to draw unnecessary attention.

Identifying someone who has done prison time

This can be done by looking for distinctive tattoos on a person’s body. The most popular tattoos on a former inmate in South Africa are as follows:

  • The numerals 26 or 28
  • Coins
  • The $ symbol
  • Knives
  • Guns
  • A hand holding a bag.

And now you are armed with potentially life-saving information. The best thing now to do apart from remembering the above is sharing this information. Stay alert, stay safe!

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