Steps to keep your property safe
HOME robberies have increased by 3.6% during the past year, according to the 20122013 South African Police crime statistics. As a result, it is important for homeowners to ensure they implement precautionary measures to protect themselves against this growing crime.
There are a number of steps homeowners can take to not only better ensure the security of their possessions but their loved ones as well.
Implement detection methods: Installing exterior motion sensor lights and detection beams not only allow homeowners to remain alert to any activity and movement on the property, they also deter criminals from invading the property. It is advisable to install exterior lighting that can be controlled remotely from inside the home.
Install CCTV: Close-circuit television (CCTV) is a huge deterrent for burglars. By having CCTV cameras running 24x7 burglars are less likely to attack for fear of being filmed, recognised and caught. It is also a good idea to have a camera installed by the front gate so that any visitors can be viewed from the safety of the home.
Ensure alarm system is in working order: Alarms and armed response services are not only an important requirement of most home insurance policies but also assist to protect homeowners and occupants. However, it is imperative that homeowners seek the advice of a trusted security provider to install an alarm system that suits the property’s needs (i.e. ensuring all areas are covered), while also meeting the appropriate security industry standards.
Following the installation, security alarms must be checked and tested on a regular basis to make sure they are working at all times. Testing the alarm is crucial as most insurance policies stipulate that the cover is invalid if the alarm is not working or set when no one is home, which places homeowners at risk of claim rejections.
Change routines: Robbers often survey a home before conducting the robbery. Therefore, it is a good idea to change exit and return routines as well as routes as much as possible. The use of automatic gate entrances will also ensure that homeowners do not have to leave the safety of their vehicle to access the premises.
Take caution when hiring employees: Home robberies can also result from inside information from domestic workers or former employees. As a result, it is important to take extreme precaution when hiring employees to work in the home or on the property. It is also imperative that policyholders check their policy cover to ensure theft by employees is indeed covered as this is often excluded on standard home contents policies. Homeowners should never give copies of the house keys to general service providers or strangers. When homeowners move into a new home it is imperative that they change the locks on all doors immediately as they can never be sure who previously had a copy of the keys to the home.
Keep walls and garden clear: Bushes and long grass provide criminals with a good hiding place. As a result, homeowners should always trim down grass and large bushes and remove big trees from the property’s boundaries and driveway. However, bushes with prickly thorns planted near windows help deter burglars from climbing into windows. In addition, gardening tools, such as ladders or crowbars, can assist robbers to break in so these items should always be packed away.
Secure doors and windows: Homeowners must keep doors and windows locked when not in use. As an added security measure, homeowners should install burglar bars and security gates for situations when windows and doors are left open while at home.
Make friends with neighbours: By befriending neighbours, homeowners will have an extra set of eyes looking out for the property. Building good relationships can also be beneficial in the event of an emergency as they will be more willing to provide assistance.
In light of the increase in home robberies, it is increasingly important for homeowners to protect themselves and their belongings. By implementing the above preventative measures alongside a sound homeowners’ insurance policy, homeowners can better avoid financial and emotional strain associated with home robberies.