A layered approach discourages burglars

Part 1 of Home Security touched on Personal Safety and introduced the layered approach to Home Security. Part 2 expands on the layered approach and suggests what should be considered, when securing your property:   

Secure the Boundary

The boundary should be secured. A combination of solid wall to screen and open fencing which allows a view of the street and approaching visitors is recommended. Self closing and locking gates secure the property and are required if there is a swimming pool in the front garden. For you and your neighbours’ security, 1.8 m high walls on the common boundaries make it difficult for intruders to easily access the property. Building Plan approval is required for walls higher than 1.8 m. Electric fences, barb wire or spikes on top of walls are not architecturally desirable, but if used appropriately, they will reinforce the boundary security. Owners must bear in mind that solid boundary walls and heavily overgrown gardens provide cover for burglars to hide.


Man’s best friend

A dog can be the next layer of defence. They are the best forms of security, serving as both a deterrent and an alarm system. If they have free reign of the entire property and they can see people approaching the property, they will immediately alert you that somebody is there. Also, a potential burglar is likely to move on, if your dog sounds the alert. It’s also recommended to have a dog sleep inside the home at night, rather than outside, where it’s at risk of being harmed by a potential burglar.

Even if you don’t own a dog, a “beware of dog” sign can go a long way.


External Lighting

External lighting is a deterrent, but can also assist potential burglars by allowing them to see if there is danger and provide light to break in. Therefore, motion sensors, day/night sensors and varying which lights are switched on, reduces a predictable pattern. Even hardened burglars are deterred when they find themselves suddenly illuminated. It will also alert neighbours.



CCTV systems are an easy way to keep an eye on your property and can be managed remotely via a smartphone app. They are becoming increasingly affordable, adding another layer to your existing alarm system.

They are a visual deterrent and when criminals pre-plan crimes, they will be less likely to target a home with video surveillance.

The perimeter of the property, particularly those areas that can’t be seen from inside the building, can be monitored.

If a crime does occur, CCTV footage can be used to identify the perpetrators.

When evaluating your property insurance, the security of the property is a factor. A CCTV system could reduce the cost of insurance, which makes it very attractive.

CCTV systems require very little maintenance. Occasionally they should be wiped and checked by a professional.


Gates & Burglar Bars

Once the perimeter and property has been secured, the next layer of defence is to secure your home, or building. Secure, lockable security gates should be installed to all external doors. Ideally, slam type locks should be installed, for quick locking in emergencies.

Burglar bars should be installed to all windows. The security experts recommend installing them on the outside of the windows, even though they may not be as aesthetically pleasing. Ensure high-quality bars that are professionally installed, as burglars are able to remove cheaper, low quality bars by screwing them out of the anchoring walls.

A locked gate in the passage secures the bedrooms at night, but if there’s a fire in the passage your escape route will be blocked. You need to have a secure alternative exit and ensure that there are smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in place.


Alarm system

Your alarm is your overall security system. Preferably one installed by an armed response company. This protects the inside of the building and can also extend to the exterior. Modern alarm systems are multi-functional and have a variety of options. They can be operated remotely from mobile devises providing owners with control and piece of mind when arriving back to their property.

Ensure that your security provider is a registered member of the South African Intruder Detection Service Associations (SAIDSA), so you can be confident that their equipment and training meets the necessary standards. It is important to regularly test your alarm system to ensure that it’s functioning properly.

Remember, an alarm is useless if it isn’t armed when you leave the premises, or go to bed at night.


Put away valuables

Once the perimeter and home have been secured, you need to remove all temptation.  Don’t leave valuables lying around, or hide them in obvious places like; dresser drawers, bedside tables and the medicine cabinet. Place decoys like seemingly valuable items that are actually worthless in obvious locations, such as a broken laptop. Burglars don’t test goods; they grab and go.


Keep them guessing

The layers of hard protection are usually fixed and static. Potential burglars can monitor a property to evaluate the risk. You have to keep them guessing. Change things. When you go out, leave the TV, or radio on and some internal lights. Setting timers to turn the TV, radio and lights on at specific times, gives the impression that the house is occupied. A smart home system, can control lights and check security cameras remotely.


Be neighbourly

The best security is a 24-hour presence. Being friends with the neighbours, or forming a neighbourhood watch, means everybody looks out for each other. When you go on holiday arrange for a neighbour or friend to look after your home. They can look after pets, take out the trash and bring in the mail, so as not to make it obvious that you are away.


For further information on home security, contact:

Callan Murray – Atlas Security:

Tel.:  084 250 8192

E-mail.:  callanm@atlas24.co.za