Rethink your home security

2016-06-14 06:00

AS house robberies and burglaries continue to plague South Africa’s suburbs, and are occurring at increasing rates in the Upper Highway area, Enforce Security is urging home owners to rethink everything they know about home security.

For keeping homes and families safe is no longer just about installing the latest technology or reinforcing property perimeters; nor is it about private security services or armed response. It has become a much greater, and more important, task than that.

Enforce director Derek Lategan said optimal security measures, just like crime, had evolved, and in order to continue protecting their homes and loves ones, residents needed complete mind-set changes. This shift, he explained, required them to take a step back, take off the blinkers through which they see only their own homes, and look at “the bigger picture”.

This did not mean that home owners should not install the best home security measures they were able to, he explained, but that they should also turn their attentions to keeping their neighbourhoods safe.

“Over the past few decades we, as residents, have made a complete 180 degree turn in the way we live, how we perceive ourselves and our neighbours, and in the methods we employ to keep ourselves safe.

“We have gone from being active participants in our communities to being nameless, and often faceless, parts of them. We do not know our neighbours and we rarely talk to them. We build walls around our properties and then build them higher and thicker so that we can feel safer. Ironically though, the measures we are taking to keep ourselves safer are actually putting us at more risk.”

This is not the first time security experts have issued these warnings, however, with many criminologists and security experts sharing the same sentiments over the years. Studies and projects have found that high walls, in essence, imprison families by isolating them from those living and moving around them – the people who could more than likely help in cases of crime or emergency.

High walls also disadvantage police and armed response officers as they cannot see beyond the walls; and even if they are able to climb them, they are effectively going in blind, which is dangerous for both them and the victims they are trying to help.

Lategan said it was understandable why residents had, over the years, felt the need to go from having fenceless or low-walled properties to building intimidating and high fortress-type boundaries, but that they were misinformed if they believed they were now safer.

“All we are doing is cutting ourselves off from the world around us and offering criminals a safe space in which they are shielded and we are trapped – in silence, and out of sight.”

Lategan also emphasised the importance of structuring private security projects around specific communities as opposed to relying only on armed response services attached to individual homes. He explained that such projects would enable private security expertise and technical capabilities to be focused on controlling and eradicating crime in communities, which would not only keep residents safe in their homes, but ultimately also in their neighbourhoods.

“We need to make our neighbourhoods safe again, for ourselves and our children. We need to create thriving communities in which we can all participate and safe streets for our children to play in. And only through specialised community security projects can we even begin to think about making this happen.” - Supplied

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