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JOHANNESBURG – The police have exposed signs and markings of communication used by criminals to target and terrorise neighbourhoods.

These are the things people take for granted in their front yards or the signs in the streets such as painting, stones alignments, coke tins, shoes, and colours.

All these items, used in specific ways by criminals, communicate information about your security, your home, and your family.

That is why some houses have fallen victim to burglary and housebreaking often. Criminals have been leaving marks or signs that convey information about their weak security.

Signs and markings:

When you see the letter “Z” painted on the road or on a stop sign, houses in the streets are targeted for burglary.

A pile of little stones warns of dogs while two big stones placed together mean that the house is the residence of an old couple.

Stones placed in a row indicate how many people live in the house.

A swastika painted on the road means that the houses in the street are targeted for burglary, while the direction of the word points which house is the exact target.

Colours:

Red, which could be a coke tin, cloth, or potato crisp packet, indicates that resistance should be expected, while two coke tins indicate that the owner is armed.

A coke tin placed upright means that there is nobody home but when the opening is facing the house, there is someone in the house.

A white plastic bag on the fence means the house is an easy target.

They also dial houses to check if there is somebody home by acting as if they dialled a wrong number.

There are many of these signs and marks the criminals use to communicate information, according to the police. Residents are encouraged to immediately dispose of all possible markers and keep their pavements neat and tidy.