How to increase your security in gated communities

2019-04-24 06:02

RESIDING in a gated community has undeniable appeal – safety and convenient living are just two benefits to consider.

Although security estates provide residents with protection, it is crucial to remember that they are not immune to crime.

“With all of the amenities, it is not uncommon for residents to develop a false sense of security and become complacent,” explains Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager for Fidelity ADT.

Studies have found there are certain physical aspects of gated communities which help to deter criminals, but there are also many characteristics that attract them.

“Homeowners should be well-informed about crime in their area, which will allow them to have preventative measures in place,” advises Hattingh.

Past incidents usually determine the level of security in an area. According to Hattingh, the increase in the number of people living in gated communities is directly proportional to the rise of crime in the country.

Another side-effect of the rise in crime is the establishment of road closures, which are suburbs cordoned-off (with varying degrees of restricted access for non-residents in place).

“Over the years there have been a number of notorious incidents that have taken place at gated communities, proving security estates are not immune to crime. For this reason, it’s advisable for residents to exercise caution,” recommends Hattingh.

Numerous levels of protection provide a strong deterrent for criminals. “A strong first-line of defence is vital and can alert homeowners to any signs of a home invasion. These are barriers like an electric fence, strong security doors and burglar bars for the windows,” explains Hattingh.

“The second line of defence would be an intruder detection system, such as beams and cameras to alert the relevant people of any suspicious activity before intruders even enter the home.

“A safe room equipped with a panic button is also advisable.”

Intruders usually do their homework beforehand, casing the property and testing the alarm system to see the security provider’s response time.

Alarms can be tested by triggering the electric fence or an outside beam.

“Residents should remember crucial safety measures like ensuring windows and doors are locked and alarms are armed,” says Hattingh.

Essential maintenance on electric fences and cameras should also be a top priority. This upkeep is especially critical when load shedding takes place.

Hattingh provides a few tips to keep your neighbourhood safe:

• Vigilance in the neighbourhood is key — it’s imperative that neighbours look out for one another and communicate if they see any suspicious activity.

• Regularly test your alarm system and ensure any surveillance equipment is clean.

• Stay alert when driving toward your residence, especially when approaching the gates, since hijackers are becoming increasingly brazen.

• Get a professional assessment of your complex and property to know the risks.

• Be a part of the solution and get involved with the local community policing forum and neighbourhood watch, to help keep your area safe.

— Supplied.

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