It is hoped these tips serve to sharpen
everyone’s awareness of the need for
vigilance. If you have safety measures
at your home, ensure that they are
always in place. Be sure to test your
security equipment regularly... never be
complacent and think that it only
happens to other people.
It is in your own best interest to be
safe rather than sorry!
How to keep vigilant
Don’t ever think, “It won’t happen
Install sensor lights
around the outside of your house and
in particular at your front gate.
Encourage your neighbours to do the
same – this has proved to be
extremely successful in the streets
where everybody has installed
sensors to light up their
neighbourhood. We don’t
have street lights – this is the
next best thing!
Make sure these lights are switched
on every night.
Always arm your home
security system at night or
when you leave your property
alarm and panic buttons at least
once a month.
Complain to your armed
response company if you do not see
them patrolling your area
on a regular base – you pay for such
Ensure the number of your
house is bold and clearly
visible. In the event of an
emergency, security or medical
personnel can waste precious minutes
trying to locate a property with no
contacts) in your cell
phone – preferably in speed-dial.
Display all emergency numbers
prominently in your home,
particularly next to each telephone
and make sure family members and
domestic staff are aware of them.
Don’t leave your wheelie bin outside
your home for longer than necessary
as it can be used to climb over
Ensure newspapers and post
items are regularly cleared
from your mail box.
leave outside lights on during the
as it can be construed as you being
leave things lying around
- for example
- on view or within easy reach of
people with any criminal intent.
Always check the surrounding
area before entering or leaving your
property. Someone may just be
waiting or watching.
Set up a contact system with
your neighbours. Have their
phone numbers/cell numbers handy and
look out for each other’s safety and
lock your vehicle
if it is parked in an open area, and
ensure that nothing of value is left
Keep all shrubs and trees on your
pavement well trimmed
to ensure minimal hiding places for
criminals and their stolen goods.
leave perimeter doors unlocked.
Install security gates
that allow for doors to be open in
fitted to a couple of table lamps
will ensure lights are switched on
at certain times, even if you are
away from the house. Makes it look
like someone is at home.
vigilant and report suspicious
If you spot anything suspicious or
anyone behaving suspiciously in and
around the neighbourhood, contact
Gardens Watch on our radio network
or via our Whatsapp group and report
Be extra vigilant when
building work is taking
place near your home.
regular chats to your domestic
worker about safety measures in your
especially about the use of panic
buttons and emergency telephone
A dog is a good
early warning system. Keep it
visible as a deterrent but beyond
the reach of strangers. The
unexplainable death of a watchdog is
a warning sign of a possible
If your house alarm goes off,
or you hear strange noises or your
dogs bark .... switch on the
When employing someone, request
their identity document and
make a copy for safekeeping.
Check any previous employment
references and do a security
clearance at the police station.
Install the best security you can
for example the security gates at
outside doors. Keep these gates
locked. If possible fix a
door viewer and latch chain.
When approaching your house entrance
by foot or by car ensure that it is
safe to enter and that you
have not been followed. Be
aware of persons loitering
at the entrance.
Always keep you keys safe to
prevent duplication. Never
leave your house key under a doormat
or in a plant pot. Once you have
locked your door from the inside
remove the key and place it in a
safe place. Do not leave keys in a
hidden place for domestic staff or
children as criminals often stake
out a house and will discover these
and build a relationship of mutual
trust and support. Exchange contact
details and set up an arrangement
whereby you can look out for one
another, especially when any safety
or security concerns arise. Your
strength lies in how many people are
able to assist you in an emergency.
When going away
inform your neighbours.
If you buy luxury goods,
cut up the boxes and dispose of
these in tied black bags - a branded
box is a tell-tale sign of what
thieves could find in your house.
Mark your computer equipment, home
entertainment goods and
easily-removed luxury items with
some form of invisible identifying
process. There are various pens or
sprays on the market.
Keep cash and valuables in
banks or in a safe at home.
your firearms in a safe.
Do you know where your nearest Fire
In the case of a fire at your house you
do not want to waste time looking
for the fire hydrant nearest to your
So, today go out and walk up your
road/street/complex and look for
your fire hydrant, not just for
a sign that says ‘fire hydrant’, but for
the ACTUAL fire
it isn’t covered in undergrowth, damaged
or overflowing. The council regularly
marks the whereabouts of fire hydrants
very clearly with
yellow paint so
also make sure this is being done in
Top Ten causes of False alarm signals
It is everyone's
responsibility to help
protect the Gardens area.
Every false alarm distracts
your Armed Response Officer
from responding to
Positive incidents account for
less than 1% of actual
represents a significant
wastage of manpower.
Please do your bit to help
reduce the number of alarm
activations. Below is a list of the
top ten reasons for false alarms.
The biggest cause is ‘finger
problems’ by clients. If
you do set your alarm off
accidentally please phone your Armed
Response company to cancel the
1. Finger trouble.
The alarm is activated while
arming/disarming the system. Remedy
– Familiarize yourself with the
system, or call the alarm
2. Doors and windows not
Activations can be caused by
draughts or wind.
Remedy –Secure all doors and windows
properly before setting the alarm
3. Technical malfunction.
The system has a fault and thus
generates false signals. Remedy –
Call the alarm installation company
4. Incorrect installation.
Incorrect use of detection devices
such as internal detection devices
being used externally. Remedy – Use
an approved installer.
5. Insects. Ants
and spiders can nest in devices.
Remedy – Have your alarm system
inspected, tested and serviced
6. Sun reflection.
Sunlight may shine directly onto or
reflect onto infra red detection
devices and cause them to activate.
Remedy – Call the alarm installation
company and rectify.
7. Foliage for outside
detectors. External beams
require line-of-sight between them.
Remedy – Ensure that external beams
are not impeded by foliage and if
8. Animals and pets.
Animals are kept in homes that do
not have “pet friendly” detection
devices. Remedy - Call the alarm
installation company and upgrade the
alarm system to accommodate the pet
9. Forgetfulness (ie
that the alarm is armed). Client
forgets that the system is armed and
the alarm is activated while
entering or exiting the residence.
Remedy - Have LED indicators
installed to show that the system is
Children are able to reach and press
panic buttons. Remedy – Educate
children to use the panic buttons
correctly, or raise the height of
Other tips for more vigilance
Never automatically open the door or a
security gate when the bell rings or
buzzer sounds. Make completely sure the
person wanting to enter is expected.
Domestic workers, garden staff and
children are often approached by
criminals who pose as telephone or TV
repairmen, electricians, plumbers,
licence inspectors or other professions.
In an effort to gain entrance, criminals
often use a cell phone and make out they
are talking to the home owner, which
puts pressure on unsuspecting victims to
open the gate or door. Those who remain
at home should be made aware of these
Emphasize the importance for security to
your domestic workers, which in turn
will secure their own. Always inform
those who remain at home whether they
can expect any deliveries or a repairmen
to call. Similarly, inform companies
that their employees will not gain entry
unless you have made a specific
Insist on identification from
contractors who wish to enter or work in
Something to consider... check the delay
on your alarm
The alarm system in any house is usually
programmed in such a way that the
sensors on windows are set to activate
as soon as a window is opened, thereby
sounding the alarm siren immediately.
The sensors on your front door, however,
often have a time delay in order to
allow you more than enough time
(anything from 30-60 seconds, maybe even
more) to get to the keypad to disarm
your alarm system.
A growing number of recent housebreaking
incidents have occurred where the front
door has been forced open to gain
entry. The perpetrators obviously know
that there is a delay and it gives them
more than enough time to grab a number
of valuable items before the siren
If your keypad is near the front door,
it is suggested that the delay period is
adjusted. It can mean the difference
between losing a whole batch of goods or
sending the intruder/s packing
Avoid any misunderstandings
If you give away or sell any unwanted
items to locals and they are likely to
walk through the streets carrying these
movables, consider supplying a brief
hand-written note, with a description of
the goods together with your name and
phone number. It saves any
misunderstandings if the new ‘owner’ is
stopped and questioned on a point of
Safe room and a plan of action
Every household should have its own
safety and security plan, which should
include burglar bars on all window,
security gates, an alarm system linked
to an armed response service provider
and perhaps even beams. But, what would
you do if an intruder still manages to
enter your home? It’s a good idea to
have a ‘safe room’ or ‘safe area’. This
is an area that is securely lockable
with access to a phone or radio, into
which the entire family can move in case
of an emergency. Once established,
practice this procedure with all members
of your household, including domestic
staff. It can be made into a fun
exercise without unnecessarily scaring