It is never too late to take precautions to raise the safety level in and around your home and with winter around the corner, now is the time to get organised.
Home Burglaries – Home burglaries are proved to spike upwards during the winter months. Under cover of added darkness, burglars use the opportunity to break in before homeowners return from work or when residents are on vacation to warmer climates.
Ghost Security recommends the following tips:
Locks doors and windows – It is amazing how many homeowners are careless with this basic security measure. Always lock doors and all windows, including above ground windows. Many homeowners take extra security measure with windows and sliding glass doors, including adding security bars to discourage entry.
Use a Safe – For your valuables, a safe is a terrific idea. Keeping jewellery that is rarely worn but which has value in a safe deposit box is another security measure.
Time-switch lights – If you travel or get home late, why not purchase a few timer switches to turn lights on when dark sets? At the same time, security companies see it as sound policy to draw curtains and drapes. This will prevent prospective burglars from studying the interior of the home.
Refrain from hiding keys – If we assume burglars are watching the house, we realise we should not hide keys to the home outside the door. It is better to leave a spare key with a neighbour and to make sure all residents have their own key and never lend it out.
Add a security alarm system – Today’s security alarms address all the features that burglars hate; light, noise and video devices. Adding flood lights activated by motion around the home’s perimeter increases the effect. Alarms draw attention to the burglary in progress and recording camera make identification a real rick for the perpetrator. Today, you can have recording cameras programmed to transmit images to your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. Additionally, the alarm system can send a notice to the security company who will respond quickly. An added benefit of today’s security systems is that they can recognise and alert residents of fires or even high carbon levels or gas in the air.
Light entryways – Make sure all doors, are well lit. Use flood lights to discourage burglars.
Keep garden organised – Keep shrubs trimmed so burglars cannot hide in the shadows and make sure all furniture and equipment is put always and secured for the winter. If you have a combination to your doors or garage, change the entry password regularly.
Every season, run a security and safety check of your home. Take the time to inspect the condition and security protocol. Making a few minor improvements can save a lot of heartache down the road.
Call Ghost to discuss security options for you, your home and your family, our free advice maybe just what you need.
Just outside Caledon, a short drive from Greyton stands one of the newest wind farms in South Africa. Located in a rural rather than a sea base location these enormous turbines are helping South Africa meet its needs for sustainable electricity now and in the future. This site has its security managed and provided by Ghost Security Services.
The site is operated and managed by BioTherm Operations and Maintenance (Pty) Ltd (“BioTherm O&M”), a South African registered company that is a subsidiary of BioTherm Energy (Pty) Ltd (“BioTherm”).
BioTherm Energy is Africa’s leading Independent Power Producer (IPP) with three operational wind and solar projects allocated under the First Round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP). To date the Company has been successful in securing over 250MW of PPA’s on the African continent in seven different countries. This African born utility is actively expanding its activities throughout the rest of the continent, focusing on wind and solar project development, financing, construction and operations. Founded in 2003, BioTherm Energy’s objectives were initially focused on the development of gas and waste heat co-generation projects. The company has since transformed itself into an African renewable energy development platform and independent power producer.
Ghost Security is a locally owned, run and managed BEEE company with its headquarters in Greyton. The founder and Director Geoff Cloete has many years history in the security industry and has built a thriving business in the local community offering reliable and effective security protection to residential, commercial and municipal properties.
Successfully pitching and presenting the tender bid is the culmination of many years hard work and he and all the team at Ghost are proud to be linked to this remarkable engineering project.
BioTherm Energy’s economic development mission is to drive sustainable change within those communities that reside within a 50km radius of the project sites through the achievement of the following objectives:
the creation of meaningful and permanent employment;
the development of a robust renewable energy industry that supports local products and services, focusing specifically on women and locally owned businesses;
ensuring that management teams are representative of the demographics of the country in which we are developing such assets;
community based ownership in our projects.
socio-economic development initiatives; and
enterprise development initiatives
Ghost continue to expand their services locally and invites residents, farmers and commercial property owners to make contact to discuss if they feel their services match your needs.
How Easy Would it be for the Emergency Service People to Find Your Home in the Dark or Day Time?
Many Greyton residents do not have adequate identification on their houses. In any type of emergency, be it of a security, fire or medical nature, the emergency personnel may have great difficulty finding their way to the correct residence.
Prominent and reflective numbering or clear house names will alleviate this problem. Emergency personnel can find that their services are delayed when members need to search for residences due to the fact that many houses have no numbers on them, or numbers are placed where they cannot be seen.
Think about your home, do people find it easily when visiting for the first time, could you clearly see the house name and number, if not then help your local support service by investing in suitable identification, speak to the skilled craftsmen in town for something with style or visit a hardware store, or encourage a local business to stock suitable numbers.
Some Practical Tips and Recommendations Relating to Home Security
One of the likely frustrations of a house break-in is that key documents may be stolen and create a lot of hassle in replacing them; Ensure that external access doors (front, rear and side doors) are fitted with adequate locks. The 5 lever type locks offer best security. The front door or primary opening door should have a safety chain or safety latch and, if the door has no vision panel, a door viewer. If the keys to these doors are mislaid, those locks should be replaced promptly.
Fit suitable “spacers”, locks or bolts to all sliding doors to prevent them from being lifted off their tracks (this is one of the most common method used by burglars on sliding doors and windows and can be easily prevented).
Ensure all windows are fitted with adequate locks or burglar bars or suitable defence systems that cover all glass.
Ensure that all duplicate keys are locked away if not in use. Do not leave in doors or make unnecessary copies.
If you are a gun holder, install a safe for weapons and valuables ideally make sure these are fireproof. Duplicate house keys could be kept in this safe.
Keep the garage and tool shed locked when not in use. Would–be intruders should not have access to any item that can be used as a weapon or burglary tool so tidy up when working outside and make sure all garden tools are securely put away.
Install outside lights that can be remotely controlled from inside the house. Consider installing lighting outside which is activated by a motion detector and or tracks movement, as lighting helps to suppress unwanted interest.
Try not to have high walls and overgrown hedges that obscure your view of the property. If walls and ledges are low, or have suitable openings, neighbours and passers-by will more easily be able to spot suspicious or unusual activity.
Clip and contain any dense foliage near the garage entrance and front door to reduce the possibility of those spots being used as a hiding place.
When at Home:
Always lock external doors and close windows that are far away from where the family activity is centered.
At night always lock perimeter doors and securely fasten windows. When retiring to bed, lock inter-leading doors of those rooms that are not occupied.
Do not leave curtains open at night as this allows observation into the house.
If disturbed or an alarm is sounded, do not go outside alone to investigate at night. Rather switch off all internal lights and open curtains to allow you to see what is occurring outside, once eyes have become accustomed to the dark or switch on external lights to help.
Do not open any external door without satisfactory identification from the visitor. If in any doubt, do not open the door and consider summoning the police or your security service provider.
Never admit to a stranger that you are alone.
If a repair-person is expected, do not allow entry unless identity has been checked through a vision panel or door viewer and with the company concerned.
Do not allow strangers into your home to make telephone calls. Rather offer to make the telephone calls for them while they wait outside.
If you note suspicious vehicles, individuals or groups in your neighbourhood, contact the police or your security service provider.
When Away From Home:
Do not leave notes on the door, underneath the carpet or in the post box to indicate that you are away.
Do not leave hidden keys.
Leave your house key with a trusted neighbour or the key holder (as registered with your Security Service Provider) so that access can be gained in an emergency.
Do not leave only the outside lights on as this is usually an indication to would-be intruders that the house is not occupied.
Leave lights on and the radio playing as this gives the impression that the house is occupied.
Do not allow papers to build up in the post box, arrange for them to be collected.
Avoid any social media commentary about where you are until you have returned.
If Confronted By an Intruder:
Try to escape, and or sound the alarm if possible.
If you cannot escape, try to lock yourself in a secure room.
Remain calm and if possible contact the police and or security service provider.
Co-operate with the intruder.
Be observant and take particular notice of any voice, dress or behavioural traits.
Only shout for help or scream to avoid serious assault.
If the intruder tries to leave, do not hinder or apprehend him.
Do not follow the intruder outside. Close and lock the doors immediately and call for help by activating the home alarm system.
Please contact Ghost for clarification or any assistance, alarm checks and advice.
To help you, we outline questions to ask your security provider, installation day details and preparation tips below.
Select a Provider You Trust
You should trust and be comfortable with anyone that you allow into your home. To protect you, most security companies perform background checks on their installation professionals. However, don’t assume this is the case. Ask the following questions of your provider before signing the contract:
Do installation professionals undergo background checks?
How thorough are the checks and how regularly are they performed?
What additional pre-employment screening is performed?
Do technicians undergo technical training? What type?
How many installation professionals are needed to install the system?
The above questions should help ease your mind as you prepare for someone to enter your home, and give you insight into the validity of the security company as a whole.
Start with an Assessment
The best vendors will provide a security system that is tailored to your specific needs. This starts with an assessment, in which you walk through your needs and wants, and the provider develops a cost-effective system to meet your goals.
During this process, evaluate the thoroughness, patience and professionalism of the sales representative. This first touch point is often a good indicator of how the rest of the installation process will go. If uncomfortable during this initial stage, now is a good time to seek an alternate provider.
Prepare for Installation Day
Once you have decided on the security provider and package, you will then be prompted to set up an appointment for a technician to install the system.
Upon arrival at your home, the technician will review your tailored plan with you and confirm where equipment will be installed.
Once a review has been completed, you are no longer needed for the installation process, though vacating your home is not necessary. The length of the installation visit is dependent on your security package and vendor. For example, video surveillance installation takes more time than the simple set up of entryway sensors and keypad monitors. Additionally, a wired system requires about 6-8 hours to install while a wireless system can be installed in approximately 3-4 hours. And if your alarm system has added features, the technician will need extra time to show you how to work those features as well.
Upon completion, your installation professional should take the time to discuss how the system works and answer any questions you have. The security system being installed is for you; do not hesitate to ask questions throughout the installation process.
If you have selected a system to be connected to a central response centre, as this is the most effective way of using a security system, them a test run should be performed.
Keep in mind the size of the property and the complexity of the system used will also affect installation times, so be prepared to work with your provider ahead of installation to be sure you have thought through all of the different ways you are planning to make the system work for your needs.
Ghost Security Systems uses the latest technology and also manages a 24 hour Alarm Receiving Centre to ensure we are able to respond 24/7 to any signals. We can call you, your keyholders or summon the Police or Fire Brigade if required
To discuss in further detail what you can expect from our installation team, feel free to contact us anytime.
In preparation for the crime prevention meeting to be held at the Moravian Church Hall on 12th December at 16.00 we have prepared some practical suggestions for you.
Some Practical Suggestions to Limit Risk of Burglary in Your Home
Whether you are away for a few hours, days or weeks, there are some basic steps you can take to safeguard your home. Burglars often watch homes to see when people are or aren’t there and plan to make their moves accordingly. It doesn’t take much, or long, for someone to enter your home and grab your most prized possessions.
If you have an alarm system installed – use it, even if just popping out to the local stores, plus keep windows and doors shut and locked when not in the house.
It has been estimated by various web based security organisations that 30 % of burglaries happen through an open or unlocked window or door. Nearly 66 % of all burglaries are residential break-ins. Renters are just as likely to be the victims of property crime as homeowners. It is important to note that the highest percentage of burglaries occur during the summer months. Homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.
85 % of these burglaries are performed by “non-professionals” who are usually males under the age of 25 seeking to feed a drug habit and these perpetrators are the most dangerous. These thieves look for easy access, through unlocked doors or windows and the type of tools used to break in are usually simple; a screwdriver, pliers, pries bars, and small hammers. These thieves are looking for small and expensive items that can quickly be sold for cash. Their favourite items to steal include, but are not limited to: cash, jewellery, laptops, guns, digital cameras, and small electronics such as iPods and iPhones.
Thieves will select a home based on a very simple selection process. They want unoccupied homes with easy access; this can be a window or an unlocked door or a door that is easily broken into. Thieves also want the greatest amount of cover and the simplest best escape routes. Homeowners often make this selection process easy for thieves by failing to take simplest precautions. If you have an alarm system, use it. If not, you might want to consider purchasing one. Keep hedges well-trimmed and install external lighting, these can be sensor lights or simply on a timer, engage with the local neighbourhood watch and do all you can to make your home as secure as you feel you need, but do not ignore simple suggestions.
When away, make the home look used and lived in.
It is crucial not to let others think your house is sitting vacant for any significant amount of time. If you don’t already have timers for your lights, purchase a few. You do not want to leave the house and leave all your lights on. First, this is a terrible waste of natural energy but thieves will notice if the lights do not go on and off. Place various lamps on timers set for different times so that the lights will go on and off at various intervals. You may want to have a radio or television on a timer as well. Noise coming from a home is a good thing. On the same note, turn down your telephone’s ringer so that no one will hear the phone go unanswered. And while we are on the subject of telephones never leave a message on your machine indicating that you are on vacation. You may want to have your calls forwarded to a cell number that you can access.
Keep local foliage and gardens well maintained.
If you use a local landscaping service do not stop them from coming to take care of your property. Trimmed hedges keep windows in plain view and are less tempting to a potential thief. Manicured lawns make it seem as though you are home maintaining your own property. If you are away and do not have a landscaping service, you may want to employ a local trusted neighbour or their offspring to come and mow your lawn for you. Install outside lighting with motion sensors that will automatically turn on when someone approaches the property and keep the outside of your home lit as much as you possibly can.
Before you leave Greyton.
Always do a last minute check to ensure that all of your doors and windows are locked and dead bolted if possible. Do not forget about screened-in porches and garage points of entry. Check the batteries on your smoke detectors and unplug all non-essential items including electrical items such as the TV and radio, unless you have timers attached. Walk around your home and unplug everything you will not use including clocks, toaster ovens, printers, stereo systems, video and gaming units, and most especially any and all computers, laptops, televisions and cable boxes. Loss of power and electrical surges can irreparably damage these expensive items.
If it is wintertime, do turn the heat down, but do not turn it off as doing so may result in burst pipes which are both a major inconvenience as well as a major expense.
A good habit to get in to.
If you have a garage, you should really try to get in the habit of always keeping your car in your garage. Many of us use our garages for extra storage space and many of these garages are quite full leaving no room for your car. It would be worth it to clear out your garage space for your car. A potential thief may notice that a car that is almost always in the driveway is suddenly gone for a few days. It is also imperative that you lock your garage door. You garage door should have a locking mechanism at the bottom. There are universal remotes that a thief could use to open yours.
If you have pets you may want to hire a house sitter instead of putting them in a kennel. And even homeowners that do not have pets may feel safer with a house sitter.
If you do not have or want a house sitter, notify a trusting neighbour and friend that you will be away and ask them kindly to check in on your home from time to time. You may also want to notify the police and or your security/alarm company who may also drive by your home from time to time during your absence.
Keep off social media.
As tempting as it may be to tell others that you are luxuriating in the lap of paradise, stay away from of social media. Keep your travel plans quiet and away from any public arena. While it is fun to post pictures of crystal blue waters, pink sandy beaches save these photos to be uploaded after your return. This applies to all avenues of social media including but not limited to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Finally, keep your valuables tucked away and hidden from view. You don’t want a potential thief to glance in a window and see televisions, gaming devices and laptops that can quickly be taken from your home. You may want to invest in a home safe and keep items locked in there.
What happens if a burglar disables your land-line phone, your home experiences a power blackout/cut, or you lose your Internet connectivity?
Will your current home security system still offer you protection?
It all depends on how your system is configured and whether backups are in place to ensure uninterrupted monitoring. We recommend our clients include cellular backup for all systems installed, as a preventative measure.
This way, even if your power, telephone or Internet connection is interrupted, your monitoring service won’t be.
Without backups in place, there are numerous ways you could lose connectivity to your home security monitoring station—bad weather, fire, vandalism, etc. All it takes is for something to become unplugged or damaged.
If this happens, then your system is unable to send the notifications necessary to alert Ghost Security Systems in the event of an emergency. Your alarm system is basically rendered a dud until the phone line or Internet comes back on; this is not a risk we recommend as being worth taking.
Instead of limiting the level of cover, ensure 24/7, continuous monitoring with a backup security plan, just in case.
Ghost recommends you are prepared with cellular security
A cellular security system removes physical, onsite wires, eliminating the chance that wires could be cut or damaged. It also does not require a phone or Internet connection. Rather, it operates wire-free through a dedicated cellular network (not your current cell phone). It is the safest and most reliable form of security monitoring.
For this reason, cellular is an excellent choice as your primary connection or as a backup for land-line and Internet-based systems. Should your primary connectivity go down for any reason, your cellular backup will kick in, communicating with the our monitoring centre for complete, uninterrupted coverage.
Avoid an unhappy ending, and put backup contingencies in place to protect yourself now, instead of questioning why you didn’t later.
Criminals in South Africa are getting away with murder. Literally. Enter DNA profiling: the 21st Century Detective. The DNA Project, a Non-profit organisation is raising awareness of the need to expand and develop our National DNA Database, as a major crime fighting tool to ensure accountability and deterrence amongst its criminal population.
Last July, the DNA Project set up a large sandbox in the centre of Cape Town’s busy Metrorail station. In the box, tiny stones of differing colours were laid out to form the distinct image of a mug shot of a convict holding up an ID board. Then commuters were allowed to walk all over the box. It didn’t take long for the passing foot traffic to almost entirely obliterate all traces of the image of the convict’s face. The commuters were filmed walking over the box, and a video was made of the event.
“Every year in South Africa more and more criminals escape conviction due to people disturbing crime scene evidence,” the video begins. “The DNA Project set out to educate the public never to interfere with a crime scene.” The image in the sandbox, originally pristine, is quickly wiped out by time-lapse images of people walking over it.
“It didn’t take long before the criminal’s identity had disappeared,” the video continues. “The message was clear. Never disturb a crime scene.”
The private security industry in South Africa is experiencing a number of intersecting pressures.
This sector of the employment generating business has seen exponential growth in the last 10 years driven in large part by a sense of insufficient confidence in the willingness and ability of the SAPS to meet people’s concerns about the risk of crime. Whilst this has generated numerous jobs and encouraged entrepreneurs from the large and small companies to expand, the central monitoring organisation the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), has struggled to keep pace with the growth.
The result has been a growth of unregulated or inspected businesses and the associated risks of poor service and poor quality of training. This is further reflected in the loss of confidence that insurance companies have in the capabilities of non-compliant companies and subsequent problems linked to insurance claims.
Recently PSIRA have increased the fees they demand from the companies supplying security services in part to hire more inspectors to drive through compliance with regulations that are already in place and those that are emerging from the proposed changes to regulation that are passing through parliament at present.
Back in Dec 2011 PSIRA gave notice to all security providers that they would be vigorously applying their new Compliance and Enforcement Strategy. In particular they stated they will be using enforcement and prosecution to drive through a new and concerted effort to ensure companies in the security industry are industry compliant and to this end they announced they will be employing surprise inspections.
Apart from premises inspections and they also inspect the officers in the employ and focus on:
Registration and training status and compliance
Reporting of engagement/terminations by the relevant security business
Compliance with uniform requirements as well as firearms
General conditions of employment
PSIRA Cert July 2013
There are over 200, 000 unregistered security guards working in South Africa. This means that there are hundreds of non PSIRA compliant security companies roaming the streets of South Africa. Even more worrying is the amount of unlicensed weapons that these non- compliant security guards and companies are handling on a daily basis. The consequences of this might not seem detrimental however the truth of the matter is that any non- PSIRA complaint business is liable to a hefty fine or a prison sentence of up to 2 years. Every month inspections are uncovering non-compliant companies who are then reported, suspended or charged.
Ghost Security Services and Risk Management Inspections
At the end of July 2013 Ghost had an unannounced inspection from the PSIRA inspectors, who, as is their remit investigated all of the key regulatory elements of the company to ensure we meet their compliance status. We are pleased to report that we were passed as compliant, but also that this level of scrutiny brings with it an increased sense of ‘planning’ going forward.
As a growing company in a small community we want to provide the very best of services for our clients and this includes managing the regulatory processes. Hardly had we had time to settle back into the day to day running of our control centre and staff when a second; firearms inspection took place, again this was unannounced and we are pleased to announce that Ghost was successful once more in meeting all compliance requirements.
Never one to stand still, we have begun to implement further administrative procedures to ensure that as we grow our capabilities in the field and at the administration office that these efforts are matched by our on-going investment in staff, and equipment. We will work to keep you safe and compliant with all of your insurance needs as well, by maintaining our PSIRA membership and by being proud and pro active in our ability to meet and exceed all compliance matters.
If a thief makes it past your lighting without being deterred, you pretty much have one last shot to stop the break-in — at the point of entry.
That’s typically a door or window. For windows, locks are crucial, and burglar-proof glass is a possible upgrade and can assist in preventing easy access, as can suitable window bars. Most people dislike bars on windows, and for good reason they detract from the look of the property, however numerous styles are available and offer differing levels of protection and aesthetics. Ghosts security team can offer suggestions to help you achieve the best of both.
Doors and door locks can get a little more complex. A burglar can gain entry either by kicking in the door or disabling the lock, so you want to address both of those possibilities with the equipment you choose.
The door should be either solid wood or metal, so it holds, obviously external door protection or internal bars can add complications for all involved, but simply remembering to keep them closed and locked when you do not have line of sight makes a big difference.
The strike plate should be the heavy-duty kind, secured with four, long (3-inch) screws.
The lock should be a deadbolt or a upgraded lock set set with a dead latch.
Doors and locks aren’t a place to be a money pincher. Even if the thief learns on Facebook that you’re in Italy, ignores the alarm sign in your yard walks through the lights and makes it to your door without being seen, a sturdy lock and a sturdy door can still keep him or her on the outside.
Remember simply thinking you have carefully hidden the key to the lock outside under the mat is not going to make the lock much of an issue!
Here at Ghost we are happy to advise on suitable door locks and can connect you with experienced locksmiths to ensure you achieve a reliable and strong lock suitable for your security needs.
Before you leave town.
Do a last minute check to ensure that all of your doors and windows are locked and dead bolted. Do not forget about screened-in porches and garage points of entry. Check the batteries on your smoke detectors and unplug all non-essential items. Walk around your home and unplug everything you will not use including clocks, toaster ovens, printers, stereo systems, video and gaming units, and most especially any and all computers, laptops, televisions and cable boxes. Loss of power and electrical surges can irreparably damage these expensive items.
Most housebreaking/burglary incidents occurred at night (27.5%), followed by afternoon hours (19.8%) and morning hours (15.7%). Eastern Cape (38.3%) had the highest percentage of housebreaking/burglary incidents that occurred at night, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (36.4%) and Mpumalanga (31.3%). Only 16.4% of housebreaking/burglary took place at night in Western Cape. Almost 20% of housebreaking/burglary took place in the afternoon, the highest percentage occurring in Gauteng (26%), followed by Mpumalanga (24.6%) and Western Cape (21.8%).
The provinces where housebreaking/burglary was least likely to occur in the afternoon were Limpopo (10.9%) and North West (14%).
Households were also asked about their views on the motives of perpetrators for committing property crimes in 2011; they were asked whether the motive for crime was real need (such as hunger), greed or non-financial motives (such as witchcraft, jealousy or hatred), drug related need or other reasons. About six in every ten (66.5%) of the households believed that people committed property crime because of drug related need, while 56% believed it was because of real need (see graph below). More than 30% of the households believed that these crimes were committed because of greed, while 25.3% households thought that perpetrators were motivated by non-financial motives.