Thursday, October 6, 2011

Those living in residential estates and gated communities need to be as vigilant about security as those living in standalone houses – perhaps even more so.

Recent media reports and studies done by the Department of Forensic Investigation indicate that criminals do not consider dwellings in enclosures to be tougher targets, and are targeting them with increasing frequency. It is primarily the residents who believe they are safer.

Citing the horrific death of a 75-year old man in a quiet gated community in Benoni on October the 1st, Telesure MD, Thomas Creamer urges people living in security enclosures not to be complacent about their safety.

“Criminals shifted their perceptions about secure enclosures a long time ago. It is important for people living in them to do the same. House robberies and hijackings within gated communities occur more frequently than people like to think,” Creamer says.

Creamer says a lot of residents of estates and complexes rely solely on perimeter security and monitoring but neglect to implement security measures at their own property or observe basic security principles.

“Garage doors, sliding doors and front doors left wide open, and a general lack of burglar proofing, is common place in a lot of residential estates. People seem to have disregarded basic security principles just because they live in secured areas. The absence of security and poor vigilance at an individual household level puts them at risk of being perceived by criminals as an easy target.

“At a macro level, when a number of homes within an estate are not adequately secured, criminals literally have free reign once they’ve gained access to the enclosure. They can hop from one property to the next with relative ease,” Creamer points out.

Unfortunately poor access control is a factor in rising crime in gated communities. So is the criminals’ modus operandi to act with the intelligence and involvement of people who work in, and have access to, security estates.

Many estates, especially golf estates or enclosures bordering nature areas or highways have problems controlling entry into the estates due to the challenges of protecting such extensive and sometimes remote perimeters.

“If you live in an enclosure, you must take onus of the security of your own property and never rely solely on the estate’s perimeter protection measures, access control and patrols. Invest in the very best security you can afford.

“The importance of knowing your neighbours and working closely with your security provider should never be underestimated. It has to be a collaborative effort. Knowing your neighbours and their habits makes it easier to identify unusual or suspicious people, vehicles or activity. It also means that you have someone else keeping an eye out for you.

“When people in a neighbourhood work together by watching out for each other, reporting suspicious activity to the security provider and raising alerts via SMS when there are security breaches or intruders in the area, the community can put up a much better defence against criminals,” concludes Creamer.

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