LOOKING for a new home can be very exciting, but with so many things to consider, one or two things can be overlooked. Security is very important to keep in mind, from the safety of the neighbourhood to how well-protected the property is. There are some basic rules to follow when it comes to the security of a new neighbourhood and home, says Fidelity ADT district manager Ivan Govender. GET TO KNOW THE AREADo some research about your prospective new suburb. A local estate agent should be able to offer some insights into crime trends and its overall safety. The South African Police Services (SAPS) website is also a good source of information about crime statistics. “Look out for signs of vandalism in the area as this could be a red flag,” says Govender. “Is there a neighbourhood watch or community security scheme, and are there regular security patrols? No neighbourhood will be completely crime-free, but it is good to have an idea of what the situation is like on the ground.”A LAYERED APPROACH TO ASSESS SECURITYGovender recommends taking a layered approach — working from the outside, in — to evaluate what measures are in place. From the boundary, make sure that there is nothing that could help a burglar get onto the property easily. For example, a bin that they could climb onto and get over the wall. Also trim back any low-hanging tree branches that could be used to gain entry. “Looking at the exterior of the property, i.e. the garden and backyard, keep an eye out for anything that could be used as a weapon, or to gain entry to the home. Be sure to check hinges and locks on gates and doors to ensure that they are not rusted and cannot be easily forced or broken.” Then head indoors and do a similar check. Look specifically at the state and quality of hinges and locks on windows, gates and doors. Pay attention to the condition of burglar bars.CHECK THE SECURITY SYSTEMIf the property you are interested in already has an alarm system installed, find out from the agent or current occupants if it is still linked to a security company and, if so, which services they do or do not subscribe to. Also find out from them if there are any issues with any of the components, when last the system was tested and what the outcome of that test was.The homeowners may choose to disconnect the system and cancel their security subscription before they move. If that is the case, contact your preferred provider who should be able to reconnect it quite quickly. When this is done, be sure that the system is tested and that all hardware is working properly before the technician leaves. “You should also ask the previous residents or the agent to return all keys to doors and locks on the property. If you have any doubt that you are the only one with keys and access, change the locks,” says Govender. “Deadbolts are ideal for outside and garage doors.”MEET THE NEIGHBOURSOnce you are settled in, go next door to meet the neighbours. They are often the first to notice when something is wrong, and in many cases the first responders in an emergency. “If you’re comfortable doing so, exchange contact details with neighbours and agree to keep an eye on each other’s homes.”He also suggests finding out if there is a community watch. — Supplied.