Have a safer home without breaking the bank

Leigh Leigh
Escala Arquitetura Country style houses
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Crime is a reality in South Africa and a factor to consider when it comes to your home. You want to ensure that the contents of your home as well as you and your family always feels protected and safe and that you can sleep soundly at night, without a care in the world.

Bulking up on security can be a pricey endeavour, however, and not to mention a bit of a grudge purchase. Who wants to spend thousands of Rand finding the perfect colour for your exterior wall only to have it ruined by a row of barbed wire? Security gadgets and gizmos can also be daunting and leave you wondering where to start. 

However, security doesn't have to be too expensive if you know a few insider tricks. With a bit of ingenuity, you can have the safest house on the block without having to fork out the cash.

1. Check the doors and windows

The doors and windows of are a home are where a burglar or intruder is most likely to gain access so this is the first place to start. 

Your ground-level windows should all have some sort of burglar bars on them or should be inaccessible when closed. Burglar bars don't need to be ugly or make the house look like it is a prison. Many designers and architects will work with the functionality of burglar bars, creating something quite stylish and trendy. Many designers also use white burglar bars so that they are less obtrusive and more subtle. Get a quote for these or, if renting, encourage your landlord to install them.

Doors are another area that should be inaccessible when closed. Install a double lock system or consider getting security gates in front of all of the major doors on the ground level. Many security gates on the market feature a slam-lock system, which means that you are protected from any threat the moment you close the security gate. 

When you're home at night, you want to feel like your house is Fort Knox, without it looking like a military unit.

2. Fake CCTV

Many South Africans spend thousands of Rand installing CCTV around their house to ward off any potential thieves and to ensure that if a thief does break in, their face is all over the screen. CCTV are off-putting for intruders as well because if someone is monitoring them, the police could be right behind the next door.

If you can't afford a ton of video security technology, a fake CCTV can do just as good of a job. By installing a fake camera outside of your house and even a few inside, you could deter any potential burglars just by the sheer threat of them being caught.

There are many retailers who sell fake CCTV cameras, which look incredibly authentic. They are also referred to as dummy surveillance cameras and they can cost as little as R20. Stick some up outside your house and in a few corners of the ceiling inside of the house and you have a home that is unofficially being monitored

These also don't have to detract from the style, beauty and design of the house. Place the exterior cameras among trees or plants so that they are only visible to those looking for them. Opt for small ones for the interior. 

You can also place a sign up outside of your front gate that stipulates that your house is monitored by CCTV.

3. Alarm

Complete Security Solution Bulldog Protection
Bulldog Protection

Complete Security Solution

Bulldog Protection

Security service providers in South Africa are incredibly efficient and respond quickly if you have an alarm that goes off. An alarm is the perfect mechanism when it comes to keeping your home safe when you are away as well as keeping you and your family safe when you're indoors. It's also the modern alternative to calling on the cavalry.

The first thing to do is choose a security service provider in your area—one with a good reputation who will respond quickly in any sort of emergency. Once you have found the right one, ask them for their different alarm packages and security options. 

Depending on the size of your home and the size of your property, you will get a quote for alarm beams, which are linked to one central alarm panel. If you'd like to compare quotes, approach a few different security service providers.

The provider you choose to install your alarm will explain to you how the alarm panel works and what to do in an emergency. They will also show you how to set the alarm for different parts of the house. For example, when you're home in the evenings you'll just want the outside beams to be on but when no-one is in the house you'll want the beams inside and outside the house to be on.

Also speak to your security service provider about getting each person in the family a panic button.

4. Don't give the impression that you are away

One of the most opportune times for a burglar to strike is when you're away from your house for a few days, leaving it unsupervised for a period of time. There are ways, however, to ensure that it looks like there is someone in the house and that it is occupied, deterring potential thugs or thieves.

Lighting is the first trick. Keep a few lamps on so that it looks like there are people at home in the evenings and at night. During the day, it shouldn't be obvious that the lights are still on due to the natural light flooding the house. You can also put your lights onto a timer so that they automatically come on in the evening and turn off at a certain time.

Curtains are another way to keep the house looking occupied. Close the curtains in the bedroom and in the living spaces so that burglars can't see inside the house.

Hiring a house-sitter or asking a neighbour to check in is also incredibly helpful when you're away. They can empty the postbox, switch lights on and off and keep the housing looking as though it is lived in. South Africa has may professional house-sitters who will come and stay in your home for a fee.

5. Exterior lighting

The lights surrounding the exterior of your home can scare away any burglar because it takes away the shadows and the dark, giving them less room to creep around stealthily. 

Ensure that your back garden and the exterior areas around the house's windows and doors are flooded with light. This will ensure that there is no dark corner for a burglar to hide in. Exterior lights are also easy to install, with the help of a handyman and can be controlled from inside the house.

Another option is to have a motion-sensor light, which turns on whenever someone passes by it. This gives any would-be intruder a fright as it will make them feel as though someone is shining a spotlight on them. Motion-sensor lights are also easy to purchase and install.

With Christmas coming up, you can really have some fun with exterior lighting. Read these 6 Great Christmas DIY Projects.

6. Install a safe

Installing a safe in your house is a wonderful and secure way to protect your most valued assets, whether it be jewellery, passports or artwork.

Safes are also easy to install, very user-friendly and are pretty much indestructible and inaccessible if you don't have the code to get in. This safe, by German company, Heindl, for example, is secured by several steel rods so that once it is closed, there is no getting inside. It's also neat and compact, not taking up too much space.

If you install a safe in your house, ensure that it is positioned somewhere that isn't easily noticeable or quick to find. It's also not a good idea to advertise that you do have a safe as you may endanger yourself if a burglar is intent on finding the safe and gaining access. You also want it to be fixed into the wall or floor so that no one can pick it up and hot foot it out of the house with your possessions inside. 

There are many South African companies that sell safes. Choose the right one for your needs.

Keep your home safe without blowing the budget and rest easy knowing that your family and possessions are secure.

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