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South Africa is possibly one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with some amazing things on offer such as great weather, oceans, mountains, forests and everything in between. As a nation, we are truly blessed to call this country our home.

However, there is one aspect that unfortunately has many South Africans up in arms - the fact that so many people living in this country have been affected by crime.  Sobering crime statistics have made South African home buyers among the most security-conscious people in the world, and as a result properties with top-end security features or those located in security estates are highly sought-after.

While security estates provide a greater return on investment over the long term, not everyone can afford a property in one of these estates. But this doesn’t mean that they have to compromise on their safety and become easy targets. There are several ways to increase your home’s security and deter criminals – so don’t be a soft target.

Don’t make it easy to break in

Most intruders are looking for a home that is going to be as easy and quick to break into as possible. The longer it will take to break into the home, the less likely it will happen.

  • Don’t leave anything out that could help them gain access to the home, such as garden tools or ladders.
  • Keep brushes, trees and foliage trimmed back and ensure that the entrance is well lit and visible.
  • Avoid leaving the garage door unlocked, regardless of where the car is parked.
  • If you have space, a trained guard dog is a good deterrent.
  • Talk to your children and domestic workers about the importance of identifying who is trying to gain access to the property.

The best deterrent is visible, physical protection

Security experts say that there is simply no match for physical barriers such as palisade-style fencing or good quality electric fencing. Bear in mind that when an electric fence is used on the perimeter, the gate will become the area that burglars will see as a possible weak point to gain entry, so have it set up to an alarm system.

Motion sensors and beams provide an excellent back-up to the physical barrier – these can also be connected to an alarm system as an early detection device.

Never make it known that you are away

Burglars would prefer to avoid a confrontational situation so they would rather break into the home when you are not there. Avoid any telltale signs that the family has gone away, such as uncollected post or newspapers. These signs will only make the home more vulnerable to possible intrusion. Install timers on the lights and leave a car where it is safe but visible from the outside.  

Always answer the intercom

One way criminals check if people are at home is by ringing the buzzer or intercom – so never ignore it, even if it is late at night. An unanswered intercom might be seen as an invitation to proceed. If the intercom does not work, remove or repair it as soon as possible.

Hide keys in unusual places

Housebreakers tend to take the vehicles in addition to the household contents. Avoid this by keeping vehicle keys, and spare keys hidden in unusual places - especially if you are going away on holiday.

Be involved in the community

Get to know your neighbours and assist in keeping the community safer by joining the local community policing forum or neighbourhood watch. 

Prevention is better than cure. It is not possible to completely ensure that your home will never be broken into, however, taking the necessary precautions is a positive step forward to ensuring your home and its occupant’s are safer.

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