There is so much negative news these days and it is sometimes hard to stay positive, but there are many logical and fairly simple precautions that you can take to prevent your family becoming a statistic as victims of crime. Starting with the exterior of your home.
THE PERIMETER. The police say that visibility is key and that a property with a fence is easier to monitor than one with a high wall. Make sure that there are not any trees close to your perimeter barrier that can aid a criminal to get access to your property. Razor wire on the top of your wall or fence is a deterrent and if you can afford it, an electric fence can be very intimidating to a criminal. In the garden use thorny and prickly plants outside and inside your perimeter barrier to give any intruder a painful surprise.
THE DRIVEWAY. This is a prime hi-jacking spot. Obviously, you are very vulnerable if you have to get out of your vehicle to open the gate, so an automated gate allows you safer access. If it is a sliding gate, make sure there is an anti-lift bracket installed. If you do not have automation, make sure that your gate is sturdy and lockable. Also ensure that you have clear visibility around your driveway access and that there are no bushes that bad guys can lurk behind. TIP: Do not pull into your driveway when you are waiting for your gate to open. Staying on the road will assist you in driving away should you feel nervous about being hi-jacked.
SURVEILLANCE. Light is the greatest tool for you to use for monitoring your garden AND is an effective deterrent for intruders. Get motion-detecting lights. Used in conjunction with exterior beams that set off an alarm, they are great for making you aware of any activity in your yard. They can be made pet-friendly so that they are not triggered unnecessarily.
A CCTV system helps you to observe any activity outside your home.
An alarm system will make you safer whilst you are at home, as well as protecting your property and possessions when you are not there. There are DIY options available but one installed by a security company that monitors and has armed response will give you additional peace of mind. In a tight situation, often the armed response will get to your property before the police do. Make sure that you regularly check that your alarm system is fully functional. Make sure that your chosen security provider is a registered member of the South African Intruder Detection Service Associations (SAIDSA) as this is a guarantee that any work carried out by them and equipment installed meets the appropriate industry standards.
BURGLAR PROOFING. Doors and windows are the weakest points of unauthorised access to your home. Ensure that your window guards are strong and preferably fixed to the walls and not the window frames. Make sure that the non-opening sections of windows are also guarded. Security gates also need to be of sturdy construction and, as silly as this may sound, need to be kept locked at all times!
COMMON SENSE. Awareness and proactive behaviour, without being neurotic, can minimise your susceptibility to being a crime victim.
Join the Neighbourhood Watch group and communicate with your neighbours. The more eyes and ears employed, the greater the likelihood of potential criminals being detected. Have the numbers of the police, security company and your neighbours on speed dial on your phone.
Dogs are a great deterrent to criminals and they will quickly make you aware of any illicit activity on your property especially if you have gravel pathways right next to your building. Your dogs need to sleep inside the house at night - unfortunately poisoning of dogs is a regular occurrence.
Do not leave potential crime aids lying around - garden tools, ladders, building blocks etc can all be used to gain access to your home.
Instruct employees to not allow ANYONE access to your property without your prior consent. Criminals often masquerade as municipal employees or appliance technicians, and con employees that you have asked them to come.
Assess your home security. Think like a criminal and inspect your property for potential weak spots. Test that all existing systems are working optimally and take steps to improve any high risk zones.
So let us all take positive steps to fighting crime in South Africa. It takes small steps to change a negative into a positive and what better place to start that is with our familyÕs safety and our property’s security.