Burglar bars, safety gates, and alarm systems aren’t just for the security conscious – they’ve become a necessity to keep you and your property safe. How safe is your home? Good security protects you and your belongings, reduces your monthly insurance premium and increases the value of your home. Even the best security system cannot guarantee that your house will never be broken into, but it will serve as a deterrent. Stand outside in the street you live in and look at the burglar bars, safety gates, electric fencing and alarm systems of all the houses around you. Which house looks the easiest to break in to? If it’s yours, it’s time to make a plan.
Where do I start?
Security experts often refer to safety layers. The more layers you have, the more difficult it is for a burglar to enter your premises. If, for example, you have a boundary wall, electric fencing, burglar bars, safety gates, and an alarm system, you have five layers and will be a less likely target than your neighbor who may only have two or three layers. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to the various security layers.
Given the amount and variety of safety gates available on the market, it isn’t always easy to choose the best option. Security gates are available in different widths and have various lock and roll mechanisms. The big decision is whether to install your own or to call in the specialists.
It is better to undertake a little investigation and call in a consultant for a free quote to see whether they match all your individual needs. A consultant will also be able to assess what level of security you actually need. If you live in a secure complex that has 24-hour security, you’re at a much lower risk than someone who resides in a freestanding home on a corner plot or opposite an open field. A less expensive security gate should then be adequate for your needs. Very often there is a questionnaire on websites that you can fill in to determine the extent of your risk but also enquire about similar information from several security companies.
Also, remember that various areas in your home also require different levels of security – bedrooms require more security than living rooms because you don’t want to be attacked while you are sleeping. A home’s security should, therefore, comprise a combination of products.
Burglar bars can be unsightly, but very few houses can get by without them and insurers are seldom keen on ensuring a house without burglar bars on every window that can be opened. With more and more window frames in aluminum, the security dilemma has increased as burglar bars that are mounted onto aluminum frames are easier for burglars to remove. Burglar bars should preferably be mounted onto or built into a wall. Regular screws can easily be filed flat and filled with epoxy paint so that burglars are not able to remove them. Remember that, just like security gates, burglar bars are best placed on the inside of the window – burglars will have to break the window first before they can get to the burglar bars.
How to Choose a Supplier
You can ask the following questions before purchasing a security gate:
- How long has the company been in existence?
- (It’s important that the company still be around if you’d like to repair or replace your gate at a later stage).
- Are there any guarantees?
- What is the extent of the product range?
- Does it make allowance for all types of risks or is it a one size fits all set up?
- What kind of locks is available and are you given a choice?
- Does the company make allowance for any special needs such as wheelchair access?
- Is the company readily available during emergencies?
An electric fence above a boundary wall is a good deterrent and will cost approximately R40 per meter for five lines. The accompanying system will cost approximately R3 000 and can be connected to your alarm’s reaction unit without any additional costs. You can mount spikes yourself, or you can have it done professionally. Eina Ivy charges about R210/m (installation included) for sharp edging with decorative leaves that resemble a creeper. Spikes (for DIY installation) are available at hardware stores and cost between R82 and R250 for 1.5m. Infrared beams are usually installed on top of a boundary wall. The installation will cost about R1 500 for an average-sized plot with a three-bedroom home and the monthly fee is not applicable, as it will be connected to your alarm system.
According to insurance company Santam, off-the-shelf security gates may not always offer the protection you need. Incorrect installation can also decrease the effectiveness of the product.
The bars should be placed horizontally and only then weld them. Ensure that the gate has pin-type hinges. They must be securely welded to the above-mentioned part or frame. Pay attention that flat hinges are not marked by excellent resistance. Also, remember that concertina or sliding gates should be mounted inside the door in order to provide the best resistance against break-ins.
An alarm system provides peace of mind in the case of an emergency as you will have the assurance that help is on its way. ADT Security claims that you will be assisted within seven minutes if you have an alarm system that is connected to an armed response unit. A basic alarm system uses motion sensors or heat sensors that protect doors, windows and interior spaces. Most alarm systems allow users to deactivate the interior sensors when they are home, but keep the sensors on the doors and windows active. A wide variety of packages and services are available, so get a quote from a reputable company that will cater to your specific needs. Besides armed response, there are many other services available, such as closed circuit television, video monitoring and guarding, manned patrols, access control and smoke alarms connected to smoke detectors. Also read how to make comfortable atmosphere in a bedroom.
How to Choose an Alarm Company
According to ADT, it is important to take the following into consideration when looking for a service provider:
- Is the chosen company a member of an industry organization?
- Does it comply with its minimum standards and requirements?
- Is every security employee certified?
- Are there all the required security checks done? How many reaction officers and patrol vehicles service a particular area?
- Is there enough manpower in outlying areas in case of emergencies?
- Is the company connected to any sort of medical emergency service, such as Netcare 911?
- Is the company involved with the local neighborhood watch?
- Are residents informed about criminal activity in the area?
- Are there any additional services for children or domestic workers?
- Is the company prepared to accompany you if you return home late?