5 tips for securing your home
In South Africa, 49 household break-ins occur each day, and recent figures show the rate is rising. We’re known as one of the most violent countries in the world. Chances are high that you or someone you know has been victim to a crime…
So how do you protect yourself, your family and your possessions? Using tips from the South African Police service, local security firms and personal experience, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways ensure your home and family are safe.
- Think like a burglar:
Lock up your home as you usually do and try to get back in without your keys or gate controls. Put real effort into imagining how you might gain access. Don’t be afraid to apply serious force to your doors; especially old sliding doors. Check the strength of your burglar bars and if a criminal could pry them apart. This exercise usually exposes vulnerable points in your home security. Look for anything you might climb, break or force to gain access to your home. Make a list of the weak points as you go along. Hopefully you don’t find any! If you do, take steps to fix these immediately.
- Secure access points:
The perimeter of your property is your first line of defence. Is it possible to climb your fence? Adding barbed wire will help. If you can afford an electric fence, it will give you great peace of mind. Trim away any trees that might help a criminal get over your fence/wall too.
All windows and doors need security measures too. Windows need solid, well-fitted burglar bars and doors need to have at least two locking mechanisms. Be sure to check that your door is made of solid wood (not hollow inside), that the strike plate is firmly attached and solid (where the lock meets the door frame). Security gates are well worth the expense.
- Increase visibility:
One of your greatest tools in the fight against home crimes is light. Installing motion-activated lights around your garden will mean that any movement that occurs in your garden will set off the lights. This is a great deterrent for criminals! A cheaper solution is to add small solar-powered lights to all outside areas.
Increasing visibility also means trimming away plants that criminals could use as a hiding place. The goal is to be able to make visual contact with all areas in your garden easily.
- Install an alarm system:
It isn’t only residential properties that use private security companies, even police stations use them! Private security firms have a faster response rate than the police in many areas, and some of the top services offer installation of panic buttons, pet friendly motion sensors and daily patrols too. Your home insurance may become cheaper and absorb some of the cost.
An alarm system need not be an expensive investment. If you can’t afford a private security company, you can still set up warning systems around your home. Apps, small self-contained alarms and even fake virtual watchdogs that can be used as an inexpensive alarm system.
- Consider a furry or scaly friend:
Dogs are fantastic additions to any home security measures. They are fiercely territorial and they have highly attuned senses. Getting a dog for security purposes doesn’t have to mean buying a Rottweiler or a Pit bull either, even small dogs are able to give warning that an intruder has entered. Criminals would rather not burgle a house with a dog in it. If you can stomach it, a snake is an excellent criminal deterrent too.
Additional common sense:
Nothing can replace basic common sense when it comes to crime prevention.
- Keep valuables well out of sight. Be especially wary of anything valuable that is visible from the street.
- Don’t help the criminal break in: A burglar might find your ladder, garden tools or even loose bricks helpful in his quest to gain access. Store these items inside at all times!
- Maintain a close relationship with neighbours: They could be your number one warning when a criminal is trying to gain access.
- Use timers: If you are going to be away for any extended period, make sure to put your television set and household lights on a timer.
- Be wary of anyone you allow into your home: With the exception of family and friends, anyone could be a potential criminal. This means cleaning staff, garden services, salesmen, even people who appear to have legitimate reason to request access. Always use direct referral when hiring anyone, and always ask to see identification. If you can avoid allowing someone in, then do so.
Everybody deserves to feel safe in their homes. Use these tips to beef up your own home security and enjoy the peace of mind that you and your family are safe.