Security tips for maximum protection of your home
Our homes are not merely bricks and mortar; they are our sanctuaries, where we raise our children, celebrate milestones and make memories and they also contain our most prized possessions, some of which are irreplaceable so it’s essential that we create a secure environment in which our families can feel safe.
However, properly securing one’s home is often easier said than done as there is not only a daunting choice of products available, but also a number of essential precautionary measures to implement.
Arnold Maritz, Co-principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, False Bay and Noordhoek says that in order to make the right selection, there are a number of key factors to take into account.
“First, you need to establish where the weak points are by walking through the entire property, including the perimeter. You must also take into account your family’s lifestyle and determine which security features would be most convenient and which would hamper your daily lives.
“And, with the potential cost of securing one’s home proficiently, it’s wise to do a little research to find out which features and systems are the most efficient deterrents, which are best suited to your type of property and also which are stipulated requirements for insurance purposes.”
He adds that the security measures prospective buyers and tenants most commonly enquire about are alarms, security gates, beams, secure parking and electric fencing.
“Nowadays, having a good alarm system on the property is an essential factor if you are selling your home or want to find a good tenant, but experts advise that the most effective way to prevent criminals from gaining access to your property is a layered security system.
This could include perimeter electric fencing, security beams in the garden, passive sensors on exterior doors and windows, security doors on sliding doors and burglar bars on windows.
“There has also been a marked increase in the installation of technological safety systems such as CCTV cameras, remote surveillance and infrared sensors in recent years, however, high tech security gadgets alone won’t ensure your safety.
“Professional criminals are very wily and quickly spot any vulnerable aspects that will help them to gain access.”
Maritz offers the following tips to add an extra buffer layer of security:
- Ensure that the alarm wiring is concealed as burglars will always try to locate where they can disconnect the system;
- Your house should appear occupied at all times and the simplest way to do so is to use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you’re not at home;
- Try to test your alarm at least once a month and don’t forget to inform your security provider that you are putting your system into the “Test” mode;
- Door hinge pins are very easy to knock out, so if there are any door hinges on the outside of the house, remove the door and reset the hinges so they they are inside;
- Install wireless alarms that are activated when doors or windows are opened as burglars will seldom stick around for the sound of the alarm to attract attention. These alarms are inexpensive and available at most home stores;
- When installing a window lock, drip some solder on the screw heads as it will prevent a burglar from being able to unscrew the lock after cutting a small hole in the windowpane;
- Motion detector lights outside are a proven crime deterrent, and won’t break the bank;
- Keep hedges and bushes trimmed right down as they are handy hiding places, and preferably keep windows or doors free of bushes or trees as they make a good vantage point from which to observe your comings and goings and also lie in wait for you;
- Change all the locks as soon as you move into a new house as you have no way of knowing who had access to the keys before you moved in.
“Don’t forget that security begins beyond your property wall so its important to take an interest in what goes on in your neighbourhood and join the local neighbourhood watch if there is one,” cautions Maritz.
“And even if you aren’t the sociable type, make an effort to get to know your neighbours as neighbourhoods with a strong sense of community are generally safer as residents not only keep an eye on their own homes but also those of fellow residents.
“Finally, security begins with being alert at all times,” concludes Maritz, “so remain vigilant, keep an eye out for slow-moving vehicles that look out of place, especially when pulling into your home and be sure to keep emergency numbers on speed dial on your phone.”