Secure Your Perimeter
Gates and fences are the first signs of a secure home and act as a good deterrent to intruders. Make sure they are in good repair.
- Keeping your front gate closed sends a psychological message of privacy, so consider investing in a gate spring.
- Ensure that side access to the rear garden is secured with a fence and gate. You can fix trellis topping to your fence as it makes climbing difficult.
- Ensure ladders are put away and bins can’t be turned into climbing aids
- For a perimeter fence by a public path or other vulnerable area consider defensive or prickly shrubbery on your side of the fencing.
- An outdoor light operated by sensors can be used to make intruders feel vulnerable and observed.
- Illuminate areas such as the front, side and rear of your home
- Make sure passers-by can see the front of your home by cutting your shrubs and bushes to 1m so burglars can’t work without being seen.
How to secure your doors
- When buying a new a door it is better to buy a new high quality lock to go with the door.
- If refurbishing a door check that the frame is firmly fixed and sturdy. If it is weak or rotten, replace it.
- Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws.
- For added security fit hinge bolts or security hinges. These help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against force and protect the hinge if your door opens outwards.
- If fitting locks to a standard wooden door fit a 5-lever mortise lock plus a night latch or rim lock.
- If your door is PVCu or Composite then it should be fitted with a Multipoint lock.
- Consider fitting a cage or restrictor on your letterbox to prevent thieves from putting their hands or gadgets through the letterbox.
- Fit a door viewer so you can identify people before opening the door.
- Door chains can stop callers pushing their way in, but must be securely fixed to avoid screws being pulled out. They will not help secure a locked door against burglary.
Secure The Inside of Your Home
A home that looks empty is more likely to be targeted by a burglar, use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it goes dark, even for just a couple of hours.
- Take photos of your expensive items and keep copies of them with your insurance policy.
- Think about fitting a small safe.
- For electronic or larger items, use a commercial or forensic marker which identifies the item as yours to increase your chance of getting it back if it’s stolen.
- Do not close your curtains during the daytime; this can suggest your home is empty.
- A pile of post on the doormat is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to clear your post away or your PO box
- Beware of bogus callers; use your spy hole and a door chain until you have seen their ID and are satisfied you want to let them in.
- Never discuss your security requirements or existing arrangements with a doorstep caller or salesperson.
Secure Gardens Sheds and Garages
- Check your shed and garage for signs of decay, which may provide an opportunity for a thief.
- Look to strengthen the door and frame, hinges should be secured with coach bolts or non-return screws. Use strong bars and close shackle padlocks.
- Think of securing the windows with a grills or heavy wire mesh to increase window security and the use of net curtains to deter casual viewing of your property.
- Register expensive items with a commercial database or use a forensic marker to increase your chance of getting it back if it’s stolen.
- A ground anchor is a chain or strong point set into the ground to which you can secure valuable items within the shed or garage. Use one which is well fixed and resists easy extraction.
- If you have a door connecting the garage to the house make sure this has the same level of security as your front door.
There are two main types of alarm systems to consider for your home:
When the alarm is activated it operates an internal and/or external siren to call attention to the property.
These systems can be DIY or professionally installed
Remotely Monitored System
When the alarm is activated it sends a signal to a central monitoring station who in turn will automatically call a key holder of your choice, send a member of the security staff to investigate and if you require it, the SAPS
Choosing your alarm:
- Check the address and credentials of the company and proof of identity from their representative
- Obtain written quotes from at least two companies
- Request a written confirmation that they are registered with SAPS in your area
- The company needs to operate a 24-hour call-out service and emergency attendance within minutes.
- Obtain written quotes from at least two companies
- If the installation of a security system is an insurance requirement, check that the security company is acceptable to your insurer
Operating your home security alarm system:
- Make sure the installer explains the operation of your system
- Read the instructions and ensure you, and those who use the system are familiar with the alarm
- Arrange for a responsible person to hold keys to your home and be able to operate the alarm
- Where audible-only systems are installed, neighbours should be aware and agree to report any activation that appears to be accompanied by criminal or suspicious activity
- False alarms should be investigated and the cause corrected or the system modified
- External sirens and bells should not operate for more than 20 minutes. Excessive noise and frequent false alarms can irritate neighbours and lead to complaints