In this day and age of nuclear families and working couples, a large number of households depend on domestic helpers including housemaids and nannies to take care of their various household chores. While the use of domestic helpers has been widespread for centuries, there are a lot of security risks involved in hiring such a domestic worker ‘off the street’ or from some advert in a local newspaper.
Before you open your doors and let them into your private space and expose them to your family, it is essential to do a security check on them.
Not every domestic helper, driver, or security guard is a criminal, but the rising number of cases means that one has to always consider whether his/her security guards and domestic maids are involved in criminal activity or will inadvertently expose one to criminals, either by gossiping or talking too much without caution.
News reports in the media have regularly updated us on the things that can go wrong when you let a stranger into your home. The same is the case with domestic workers. Some of them have criminal records and a history of behavior that could lead to you becoming a victim of vandalization, theft, or worse.
Let us take a look at some of the ways one can prevent crime or prevent security guards and domestic help involved in criminal activities.
- When employing domestic help, employ from trusted, known and government-approved recruitment agencies. Do not hire from the streets or by oral recommendation of others, as this could invite strangers to your life with devastating consequences.
- Before employing domestic staff, it is advised that police verification is done. This is to confirm is the individual is not a criminal, sex offender, or wanted by the police or other security agencies both home and abroad.
- Carry out safety checks. This is done by obtaining a recent picture of staff, government-issued means of identification, personal information like full name, permanent address, state/ LGA of origin, parents information, next of kin, guarantors. This information obtained must also be verified satisfactorily before employment.
Also, a background and character check must be carried to ascertain the type of person the prospective employee is and the reputation.
Ensure that during the interview process, the prospective employee is quizzed on salient questions that include background, habits, addictions, etc.
Where prospective claims to be a foreign national, obtain documents confirming this claim and verify the family members in the country of origin, where possible.
Keep all records and information of prospective employees safe and away from access by the employee. These should also include a recent full photograph of the employee.
- Medical tests must be conducted on the prospective employee to ensure freedom from contagious diseases, learn protection and preventive mechanisms. This comprehensive test must not be compromised and should include – Hepatitis B and C, HIV (I and II), Tuberculosis, and a pregnancy test. Remember your domestic workers will interact with you and your family, you don’t want avoidable exposure to serious contagious diseases.
- Install CCTV surveillance cameras, voice recorders, automatic locks, and other security technology gadgets in your home. This is to help in monitoring of activities and treatment meted out to your children, animals, and property while you are away. It can also help in capturing crimes carried out at your residence and the face of the culprit while also limiting/ preventing unauthorized access around your location.
The gadgets should be installed in strategic places and areas of the house which can adequately capture or monitor the entire room. Also, the domestic worker need not be informed about the installed gadgets.
- Many domestic workers are prompted to steal or connive with robbers to rob upon having knowledge of the presence of money or valuables like gold kept at home. It is advisable not to keep money and other extremely valuable items at home or in places easily accessible by domestic workers.
- If possible, avoid leaving children alone with domestic helpers. The news, gory photos, and videos of domestic helpers maltreating children and subjecting them to inhumane treatment in the absence of their parents or guardians come to light as a reason for this. Also, the continued disappearance and kidnapping of children by domestic workers and their cohorts is another frightening reason for this tip/advice.
- With the help and awareness/ alertness of neighbors, a lot of crime can be prevented, particularly those relating to domestic helpers. If you notice any abnormal, odd, or suspicious behavior with any domestic help or support staff in your environment, make sure it is reported to the appropriate security authority and other community members. Also report loitering and suspicious movements, cars, and persons not living within the area/community to the security personnel around and the police.
- Don’t be quick to judge employed domestic workers. Don’t leave your kids or property fully in the care of domestic care. Trust must be gradually obtained and even then, effort must be put into monitoring.
The Hogan Group of Companies carries out a wide range of background checks and investigative services to ensure individuals hire fully vetted domestic staff. We also provide surveillance installation with remote monitoring capabilities accessible on any smartphone. Contact us to better secure your home.