Make your home more secure this summer
Home security is a top priority among South Africans and with summer on its way, now is a good time for homeowners to review ways to improve safety.

People tend to socialise more during the summer months, explains Richard Gray, the new CEO of the Harcourts Africa property group, “and a house left unoccupied while the residents enjoy an evening out, or go away for a weekend or on holiday, may become an open invitation to housebreakers or thieves”.

He suggests that residents first pay attention to alarm systems. “Alarms are often regarded as the first line of defence against intruders, but they are useless unless they are in good working order. They should be tested to ensure they are working efficiently – and if the system is connected to a rapid response outfit the relevant company should be alerted before you commence testing.

“If your home is not protected by an alarm system, it may add to your peace of mind to consider installing one. Alarm systems vary widely in price and sophistication and it is a good idea to obtain several quotations as well as advice from different companies to gauge what is available and at what price,” says Gray.

“That said, there is much else consumers can do to secure their homes. The value of dissuading intruders in the first place may be underrated. Criminals prefer the cover of darkness and simply installing adequate lighting at gates, doors and windows deprives them of cover. Trimming shrubs on the boundary or removing low-hanging branches from trees will also deny them hiding places.

“Consumers should also critically view their property’s perimeters and establish how hard – or easy – it is to gain access. Walls and fences should be high enough to prevent criminals from simply hopping into the garden and security can be enhanced by installing spikes, razor wire or electric fencing along the top.

“The key is to make entry as difficult as possible because the longer it takes criminals to enter your property, the higher the chances that they will be spotted – and that acts as a great deterrent.”

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