Just because you are going on holiday, doesn’t mean criminals are as well. Diep River police station encourages community members to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times. When considering safety awareness at home, Const Zak Marais, the spokesperson for Diep River police station, points out that a high fence around the house with lockable gates is much safer than a high wall due to the advantage of the improved visibility it provides.“The primary aim of the fence is to make intrusion difficult and to allow dogs to move freely around the house,” he says. “Ensure your gates are locked at all times and that the keys cannot be reached easily and are not lying around uncontrolled.”He recommends security gates with sturdy locks in front of each outer door as well as burglar proofing covering all windows.Marais says an alarm system, preferably connected to an armed response company, can act as an effective deterrent.“In a rural environment, a siren or alarm fixed to the roof which can be heard across a long distance and that can be activated using a switch or panic button in the house is recommended,” he says.A few switches or panic buttons should preferably be installed in different rooms of the house. An alarm should also be able to warn occupants of any home intrusions.Besides mechanical or electrical alarm systems, homeowners could also use improvised systems, for example, threaded tins, threaded pieces of iron, placing gravel on window panes, pathways or around the home or stationing obstacles that can make a noise when moved at entry points. Dogs, of course, are also useful to create an alarm.Other safety precautions include: . Ensuring all doors are locked at all times, and that windows are closed when you are not at home. . Training at least one dog to sleep inside the house. . Informing your family and neighbours of your intended destination, the time you expect to return and the route you will be driving when you go on holiday, and . Ensuring tools, such as axes, spades, picks, ladders, that can be used in an attack, are locked away when you do not use them.Marais says it is also important to involve employees when setting safety precautions as they are part of the family.“Employees should be involved in maintaining security on an equal footing. When useful information is provided that contribute to the prevention of crime, share it with employees,” he says.Marais warns not to employ casual workers without a reference and advises employers take photographs of their employees and keep copies of their IDs. V In case of an emergency or to report a crime, call the Saps emergency line on 10111 or Diep River Police Station on 021 710 7300.