Tips on Home Security Measures – Combine high tech with ‘good common sense’

More and more South Africans are looking to technology to protect their property and loved ones. The advanced solutions that are on offer are becoming viable options not only for big corporates, but also for residential clients.
Modern technology offers home-owners a wealth of affordable security options to choose from, but this does not mean that people can neglect their own basic personal security habits.
“The installation of a CCTV system or outside beams in your garden does not mean you can now become careless by leaving your doors unlocked,” says Fidelity ADT Security’s district manager (Cape Town South) Mr Jade Hanning.
“We simply have to take ownership of our own personal safety and that of our loved ones. If you arrive home, make sure that there aren’t any suspicious people hanging around your property that might be watching your movements. If you feel any kind of uncertainty it is best to drive around the block again,” he says.
Hanning says his company is seeing more clients using technological safety systems such as CCTV cameras, remote surveillance, and other perimeter security systems such as infrared sensors.
“More neighbourhood watches are installing camera networks as part of the security systems they put in place, which have proven to be hugely successful,” says Hanning.
The advantage of a camera system is its ability to provide a view of areas where one cannot physically be present, he says. It also provides crucial evidence that can be used in the apprehension of any criminals.
“Cameras have a very important part to play but the jury is out on whether they are a 100% perfect crime deterrent. CCTV systems and networks allow security service providers and law enforcement agencies to respond faster when any crimes take place and to deploy their limited manpower and other physical resources in a more efficient and effective manner,” he explains.
Home automation systems can also enable home owners to monitor their property by remote and to respond to alerts in case of an emergency.
Hanning has advice for home owners who are interested in installing new security systems.
“With the cost of digital technology decreasing, it means you are spoiled for choice on what systems to consider. The sophisticated security systems used by big corporates are now also available for private residential clients. Don’t rush into a decision – do your homework and make sure the system you choose will offer the kind of protection you need,” he says.
It is also recommended that the chosen system should be able to integrate with any upgrades or expansions you may choose at a later date. A system that can be linked to your cellphone or laptop means remote security monitoring is now within your grasp, he adds.
“Make sure that whatever system you install is regularly serviced and always in a proper working condition. Teach your family members how to use the system, so that they are able to call for help in case of an emergency,” Hanning concludes.
“The next bit of advice is always to arm your home security system, even if you are at home. You have invested money in this system and it would make no sense not to use it to offer you an extra level of protection,” says Hanning.
Fidelity ADT recommends testing any home security system regularly to ensure it is working and that alarm and panic signals are transmitted properly to monitoring centres. It is also recommended that everyone that lives in your house know exactly how to arm and disarm the system, including how to activate the panic buttons.
“I also recommend that people take a look at the physical layout of their residential property to identify any outside risks to their safety. Overgrown hedges could offer easy hiding places for criminals. Unattended appliances left in the garden could also be used to gain access to your home,” says Hanning.
“The best solution is an integrated security solution that can be phased in over time and one which creates a single seat control environment. It’s worth getting information from your security provider and finding out what your options are, and to combine this with good personal safety habits.”

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