Thanks to the efforts of Cape Town’s dedicated Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, I’ve rounded up a stack of home security advice for Mother City residents.
Basically, vigilance is key. Keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious behaviour.
Easy access to contact numbers
Keep the numbers of your SAPS sector van, local police station, neighbourhood watch and armed response close in case you need them.
Don’t hesitate to contact Neighbourhood Watch
Always remember that your Neighbourhood Watch would rather check out something that turns out to be harmless than have something happen and be reactive as opposed to proactive. It is not a waste of our time.
Set your home security alarm
Always switch your home security alarm on when you go to bed, or settle in for the night. At least set your outside beams to give you an early warning of intruders. Statistics show that in most house break-ins or house robberies, the home security alarm was not set.
Rubbish collection day
Don’t put your bin out the night before. Rather take it out on collection day. This won’t encourage vagrants to come into the suburb at night. Often there are people who don’t look like vagrants but blend in with them whilst checking the neighbourhood.
Please be careful when employing unskilled labourers from the side of the road. There are criminals among the honest guys and you need to protect yourself and your property against them. If you must make use of these labourers:
- Only make use of those that can produce some form of identification, preferably a SA ID book. This will encourage them to carry identification.
- Record and retain their information – name and ID number.
- Make a photocopy of their ID if possible. SAPS cannot track someone down if they don’t know who he is.
- Don’t advertise your belongings. If a labourer is working in the garden, close your curtains and keep valuables out of sight.
Neighbourhood Watch organisations can always use an extra helping hand – join your local Neighbourhood Watch and become a part of the caring community.
Home security advice from Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch
Get to know your neighbours, their names and phone numbers.
Support your neighbours and get involved in the community around you. Get to know your local police and other resources, understand the issues that affect your area, do what you can to make a positive difference. If your area is safe and clean – your home will be safer and your professional security measures will be more efficient.
Always take personal responsibility for your own safety and security. Fitting a home alarm system that is monitored by a security company (such as ADT) would be very sensible. Just remember that the presence of the alarm does not absolve a home owner from taking other basic precautions.
Don’t forget to…
- Photograph valuable personal property
- Record TV serial numbers
- Close curtains at night
- Have a good lock fitted on your front door
- Don’t leave ladders on display and unchained
Physical layered security is important
Set up barriers between yourself and the intended criminal. This physical security acts as a warning to your household of any imminent threat to your personal safety and security. The first barrier should be a fence or wall around your property, the next layer of security should be outside beams, followed by your burglar bars and security gates, as well as a good monitored alarm system. The final layer of security should be a safe room where the family can secure themselves (should the home be accessed). Also, have all necessary contact details for the various service providers readily available.
You are responsible for your own security. Regardless of SAPS, security companies or neighbourhood watch, you need to take the first steps to ensure your home’s security. Lock doors, arm alarms, and be aware, you are your own first line of defence.
Always greet the residents in your neighbourhood with a wave and a smile. This includes adults, children and even pets. This is especially important when leaving and returning home as it creates awareness in them and in us.