While crime is an unfortunate reality for all South Africans, it’s not reason enough to want to make us move to a remote island far away – our country, after all, includes some of the most precious fauna, flora,  natural beauty and wonderful people (just look at your friends and family!) Instead, why not make a few simple security updates that will truly make your home a safe space for everyone? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

We’re often surprised by how many homes don’t feature the basic security solutions. So, before you turn into James Bond, rather ensure that you have the basics covered:

Burglar Bars: Nowadays, keeping intruders out of your home doesn’t have to be an eyesore to your property – thanks to the new clear, transparent bars! Even more impressive is that these bars are between 250 to 400 times stronger than metal bars. There are a number of companies in South Africa that will install these or provide them with DIY instructions.

Spotlights: Motion-censored spotlights is a very easy and cost-effective way to keep intruders at bay – or to chase them away if they plan on trespassing.

Alarm System: Installing an alarm system that’s connected to a registered security company – as they provide manpower in the case of an emergency – can instantly turn your home into a safe haven. For those who are looking for an inexpensive solution - simple wireless door and window alarms (that ring when the window/door is opened) can also do a great job to deter burglars.   

Alarm Warning Signage: Don’t underestimate the power of warning decals on all street-facing doors and windows! While it might not physically prevent someone from breaking in, it will make him or her think twice before picking your home…

Replace burnt-out outdoor light bulbs: This is an important factor to consider if you don’t have motion-censored spotlights – if the light outside doesn’t work anymore, make sure you replace it immediately. Why? Well, turning on a light when you hear a rustle outside might just be the thing that deters intruders from entering your property.

Keep your garden clean: Shrubs, bushes and trees covering the windows facing the street? This creates the perfect opportunity for intruders to hide away as they try to break in and prevents neighbours from seeing any suspicious activities.

High-Tech Solutions

If you want to beef up your home security a little more, these gadgets can help:

CCTV: A Close Circuit Television or video surveillance system is the perfect solution if you want to keep an eye on your property at all times – whether you’re inside your home, at work or even traveling abroad. While there are a number of different systems and providers, CCTV basically works through cameras that are installed outside and/or inside your home – these cameras are then connected via the Internet to your television, smartphone, tablet or computer. It also offers live streaming footage, so you can see what’s happening in real time (on your phone, TV or computer), as well as a video recording option where you can play footage back later.

Videofied: Now this is a nifty wireless video alarm system, it’s an affordable alternative to a video surveillance system. The system works with infrared cameras that are set up throughout your property. Once a camera in an activated zone is triggered, it’ll sound an alarm as well as take a 10-second video clip of the zone – this is then sent to a monitoring centre that’s linked to a security company, like ADT. The best part is that the system is completely battery operated and, thus, unaffected by power cuts, loadshedding and surges.

Video Intercoms: While video intercoms have been around since the 1980s, it’s seen some great improvements over the years thanks to the technological advances. Nowadays it comes with full LCD monitors,  full colour visibility and clear audio identification. A great, cost-effective way to keep any unwanted visitors out!

Keyless Locks: How many times have you arrived at work/at family or friends/on holiday and wondered if you really locked the front door, back door and side door? For forgetful minds who are safety-focused, keyless locks is your answer! While there are many options available, most keyless locks work on a system called Z-Wave – this is a device much like your ADSL modem that acts as a gateway for you to remotely control your locks. The Danalock, in particular, uses Bluetooth and allows you to control your locks from anywhere in the world via an app or the Internet on your computer.  

Apps for your smartphone:  The Cell411 app is available for download on Android and iOS hand-set devices. This local app is fast becoming South African’s trusted way to get help in case of emergencies when the police can’t assist. The app allows the user to build a group of contacts from reliable friends, neighbours, family members and neighbourhood watches who can be instantly notified when the user is in an emergency. It works with a simple tap of the user’s finger – all the contacts in the user’s group are notified to the exact coordinates of the incident so that they can assist. In addition, the user can also stream live video footage of the incident for evidence in a criminal case.