Is your home secure?

By Andy Lawler (Managing Director, Sentinel Risk Management)

It is surprising how many times, whilst doing a security risk assessment at an estate at the behest of the Trustees or Home Owners Association, where I have come across homes standing wide open or idling luxury cars in driveways with the doors standing open and the driver taking their time inside fetching one last item.

What many folks do not understand is that criminal cartels often have the liquid funds to purchase multi-million Rand properties within these high-end estates and are very seldom vetted by an estate agent anxious for the commission, thus, one could very easily find themselves living precariously next-door to a crime syndicate.

These syndicates then complete a series of harvesting operations within the estate and remove the goods unimpeded, as they have “resident” access. Six months down the road, they sell their residence and move on to another unsuspecting community in another province.

We are living in a world where trust is at a premium and the only way to rest assured that we cover all our vulnerabilities, is to create a security plan for our homes and businesses.

There are a number of important reasons as to why it is not advisable to create your own security plan without assistance. This becomes evident when we have a closer look at the steps generally followed in security planning, but needless to say, the untrained eye would fail to recognise all the vulnerabilities and the untrained person would fail to employ the most effective countermeasures.

Steps a qualified security assessor will take:

  1. Threat, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (TRVA). This identifies what needs to be protected (assets, property or people), the nature of the threat, the risk levels and vulnerabilities. The assessment needs to take into account constraints on the eventual security solution whether forced or voluntary, such as legal, cultural, operational and especially, budgetary constraints.

An experienced assessor enters your premises with a critical eye, is not used to seeing the same landscape every day and thus will more easily notice risks and vulnerabilities.  He will look at your premises like an onion, with various layers starting with the community around you and ending in the very core of your home/office.


  1. Draw up a security program design. He will take your risks and vulnerabilities into consideration and design layered protection. It could include cameras, beams, electrified/alarmed fences etc. Lighting is also important, since it affects cameras and must also take into account shadows and potential hiding places.


  1. Ensure a balance between safety and security. It is one thing having barriers and security gates around your sensitive areas, such as bedrooms or offices, but can your family or employees escape a fire should one occur?


  1. Ensure that solutions to the various threats, vulnerabilities and risks are carried out properly and neatly and that they are indeed cost-effective.

In the end, a security assessment will be able to show the client that the measures put in place will deter, deny, detect or delay the commission of a crime and will assist the client to respond effectively to and recover from untoward events. The comparatively small cost of hiring an assessor, then, will indeed turn out to be the client’s best security investment.

For more information, or to book a comprehensive, cost-effective assessment, please contact Andy at Sentinel Risk Management and we will be happy to oblige. Our contact details are: Telephone: 082 953 1594 or Email:

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