With crime rates seemingly always on the rise, most South African homes have some security measures in place. Security estates have gained steady traction in recent years, but even if your property isn’t located in a gated development, there are certain steps you can take to make it safer.
Roy Alves, Country Manager of Axis Communications, explains that whereas before the value of houses was largely driven by location, today’s property prices are increasingly impacted by the level of its security. “Crime is not abating,” says Alves. “People want to feel safe, they want to know that their homes and families are protected.” He goes on to emphasise the importance of not only installing security surveillance tools, but also eradicating blind spots and reducing false alarms. “One cannot simply install a camera, and hope a potential intruder will wander into its line of sight,” he says. Instead, a thorough site survey needs to be conducted, identifying exactly where and how surveillance cameras need to be installed.
“What is needed is an early warning and detection system, picking up suspicious behaviour on the outside of the boundary wall,”explains Alves.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, lists a few other security measures to take into consideration: “Security goes beyond the property itself. If the property is within a sectional title complex, ensure that the complex as a whole has sufficient security measures. Access control, security guards on site, or patrols. There might be cameras or surveillance of some kind, which will vastly increase the security of the development.” Another aspect to consider is lighting: “ Dark areas make it easier for intruders to approach and gain access unnoticed. Outdoor floodlights can mitigate the risk to some degree, and motion-sensor models are a value-for-money, effective option,” Goslett explains.
Stuart Clarkson, Fidelity ADT Managing Executive, reveals that they have seen the best success stories in areas where residents have not only put in home security measures, but suburb solutions. These include neighbourhood watches, resident associations, installing camera networks in the area, and a 24-hour neighbourhood guard. “Community forums really do help retain property values and reduce crime. We would like to encourage residents to get involved in their communities and crime prevention initiatives. Not only will it curb crime but could also boost your selling price when the time comes,” Clarkson explains.
Top security tips
No matter the location of your property, there are simple steps to follow to ensure your investment is safe.
- Clean up: Get rid of any overgrown plants that could be handy hiding spots.
- Perimeter: This is your first line of defence. Ensure your property is walled or fenced, and install beams or electric wiring if necessary.
- Doors and Windows: Install adequate burglar bars to all doors and windows. In the case of sliding doors, ensure they are fitted with spacer blocks to prevent them from being lifted off their tracks.
- Lights: Install motion-sensing lights around your property, eliminating dark corners.
- Support: If you choose to install an alarm system, ensure that you’ll be receiving adequate support from the team.
- Change the locks: When moving into a new property, replace all locks and change any alarm codes immediately.
- Most burglars are looking for an easy target. Display an alarm sign or other warning signs to deter opportunists.
With security being an everyday concern for many, adding the necessary precautions to your property will not only keep those living in it safer, but also increase the value and appeal to buyers if you decide to sell.