Complex living might not be as safe as you think

Complex living might not be as safe as you think

Here’s some handy advice and tips to safeguard your home if you live in a complex.

Many South Africans have opted for complex living with the hope that they and their families will be safer. But, in a climate rife with housebreaking and robbery, is this really the case?

“There is more to security than living behind high walls, electric fencing and electronic gates with remote control access. According to recent research by security company ADT, criminals employ a number of techniques to gain access to complexes. One of these is when a resident´s “friend” is given the gate code to enter and exit the complex at will. Crime is also invited when a resident uses a brick to keep a side gate ajar as the intercom is broken and visitors are expected,” explains Budget spokesperson, Martin Janse van Rensburg.

Recent police crime statistics show that house robberies on the whole have increased by more than 7% across the country and this includes homes inside supposedly secure estates and complexes. With this in mind, no one can afford to be nonchalant about security.

Janse van Rensburg points out that it can be relatively easy for criminals to gain access to a complex or estate because there is often no control over the movement of strangers in and out of the gates.

“People are less cautious when they approach or leave a secure estate and very often drive away without waiting for the gate to shut firmly behind them, giving criminals a hard-to-resist window of opportunity to slip in without being noticed.

“Gates to complexes are also often left open for long periods of time, allowing a free flow of uninvited cars and people. In some estates, there is no control over who is given the access code for the gate, which means too many people are able to get in and out without restriction.

“And, once inside, it’s easy pickings for criminals, with a selection of cars parked in close proximity and, doors and windows to houses, often devoid of burglar bars and security gates, left unlocked and even wide open,” says Janse van Rensburg.

He stresses that homeowners have to take their safety and security into their own hands, whether they live within a complex or not. This means staying alert at all times and employing basic security tactics and principles.

Budget Insurance offers important tips on how to safeguard your home:

  • Never allow vehicles to follow you through the security boom or tailgate you.
  • Make sure to take good security measures including bars on windows, security doors and electric fences.
  • Do not leave house doors unlocked and open just because you live in a complex.
  • Be exceptionally vigilant when entering or leaving your complex. Be alert at all times and wait for gates to close before driving off.
  • Never buzz a visitor in unless you know exactly who there are.
  • All secure codes should be treated as confidential.
  • Always keep your remote controls in secure places.
  • Take up any security concerns with your Body Corporate.
  • Criminals thrive on easy targets. Just like in any residential area, opportunistic crime is a problem. There may be somebody waiting for the chance to hijack you at the entrance to your complex or to  follow you into the complex if you’re not vigilant. Once inside the complex, criminals can easily move from one unit to the other.
  • ADT advises that when electric fencing is installed, the frame carrying the strands should be angled away from the protected area. If not, thieves can throw a heavy-duty blanket over the wires and scramble across. Special attention should be given to the corners of secured walls, a potential weak spot.

Janse van Rensburg concludes, “Crime in complexes can also be averted by good old-fashioned neighbourliness where everyone in the complex looks out for one another. Use living close to others to your advantage by creating a sense of community around safety and security.”