HOME SAFETY PLAN

 

Your home safety plan uses the concept of defence in depth which is a multiple layered approach to your home security. The concept being that your security or defence must comprise of as many layers of security measures as possible. The higher the number of effective security layers you have the safer and more secure you will be.

 

It may be callous to say this but if your neighbours get burgled then your security is working and theirs is not. If your security looks more impressive than your neighbours criminals will attack your neighbours.

 

With budgetary constraints that most households encounter you then have to prioritise which layer of security to put in place with the financial means at your disposal. As a top priority always consider a system which provides a response first, even though response companies do not guarantee response times at least a trained, armed person will be en route to you.

 

Our primary goal is to educate you to make an informed decision about your home security with the view of maintaining the personal safety of yourself and your family without a biased sales/security consultant selling you an ineffectual security measure. An example of an ineffectual security measure is electric fencing on top of a precast wall. A precast wall is not a security wall and can easily be broken through so putting an anti climbing device on top of such a wall is ineffectual as a security measure because it is easily circumvented.

 

The following diagram illustrates the defence in depth concept which is universally used by civilian and government security mechanisms:

 

 

If you can implement all these security measures you have an excellent chance of maintaining your personal safety, however that is not always possible for everyone but you must try and implement as many as you can.

We will examine each area in depth:

 

Perimeter Wall or Fence

 

Your perimeter wall or fence is your first line of defence; it is a critical part of your home security. In the majority of cases most homes perimeter wall or fence could not be classed as a security wall or fence due to a number of reasons, these reasons include the following:

  1. Construction of the perimeter wall or fence.


  2. Height of the wall or fence.


The technical specifications for these are in our technical specifications section. Most homes would need to adapt their existing walls or fences to increase their perimeter’s effectiveness.

Gates form an integral part of your perimeter and it is imperative that the gate is of the same height and of strong enough construction to support the protection provided by the perimeter fence or wall. A decorative gate is not advisable as the decoration or pattern of a gate can provide sufficient hand and foot holds to facilitate climbing. Aesthetics and security do not make good bed partners!

As your driveway entrance is on your perimeter you must ensure that it is clear and open, do not plant shrubs, trees or bushes which can provide a potential intruder or hijacker places to hide. Any overhanging tree branches into your garden must be cut down to prevent them from being used as a point of entry into your garden.

If you are using electric fencing on your perimeter you must ensure that it is kept clear of overhanging branches as this can cause the fence to short out and therefore be ineffectual. The supports of the electric fence should not be attached to the outside face of the wall and the bolts or screws used to attach these supports must be burred or spot welded to prevent their easy removal.

 

Perimeter Lighting

 

Perimeter lighting forms an integral part of your perimeter protection especially when used as a hijack prevention tool. Perimeter lighting should ideally illuminate both sides of the perimeter; with the gate or entrance area the lighting must cover the either side of the driveway to illuminate any approach towards the driveway.

As an anti hijacking measure have the lights on passive activation this means that the light will only come on when there is movement in the vicinity of the sensor. This will give you an indication and early warning of a presence in the vicinity when arriving home in the dark. Any lighting used on passive activation must have the off switch over ridden to stay on once activated providing you with an early warning on arrival.

Lighting also has the effect of destroying an intruder’s night vision. Night vision takes 20 minutes to be used and 45 minutes to be fully effective. Perimeter lighting specifications are in the technical section.

 

CCTV

 

CCTV or Closed Circuit Television is something that most people may not be able to afford but it can act as a deterrent. CCTV is useful only as a method of possibly providing evidence once a crime has been committed or to use as a tool for access control.

The location of CCTV cameras does depend on the layout of your premises but the main areas to look at covering includes entry points to the premises and open areas an intruder may have to cross to get to your home such as open garden areas.

For access control overseeing an intercom and the external area surrounding the point of entry need to be covered to see who wants to gain access to your property and if there are other people in the vicinity who may be waiting to gate crash your premises.

For night time use the areas must be well lit as even the infra red cameras available do not see very far in the dark as they rely mainly on LED infra Red illuminators which have limited range. CCTV cameras are not night vision cameras so do not be fooled by certain wording on product information sheets.

 

Wire Entanglement

 

A wire entanglement, also known as a low wire entanglement, is a relatively cheap and effective security measure. It entails putting razor wire either on one or both sides of your perimeter fence or wall it is laid out in an irregular fashion using ground spikes to tie it down.

The purpose of the wire entanglement is to make it difficult to approach the perimeter or move away from the perimeter once over it. It is ideal to place the wire entanglement with climbing/creeping plants which over time will conceal the wire entanglement. The wire entanglement should be no higher than knee height.

A comparatively cost effective method of achieving the same effect is to plant various types of cacti in the same areas you would put the wire entanglement.

 

Topping Up Lighting

 

Topping up lighting is used for areas that are not covered by other types of lighting; it can be positioned in places where people are likely to hide in bushes or tree lines. Using this type of lighting used as an anti hijacking measure on passive activation is an ideal way of using lighting as an early warning as to the presence of a potential intruder or hijacker. Further information is available in the technical section.

 

Outside Dog

 

Externally a dog is still a very good security measure to have. The only problem is the dog being man,s best friend becomes one of the family and should anything happen to the dog then there is always the sense of loss. Be that as it may for external security a large dog is a good deterrent to have.

The chance that an opportunistic intruder will take a chance against a large dog or two is slim; it is only organised criminals that come equipped with poisons. A dog is not a standalone security measure but only in conjunction with other security measures. The purpose of the dog is also to raise an alarm to a presence.

 

Infa Red Beams

 

If you can afford to put infrared beams in your garden then this is a very good security measure to have. Linking the beams into your alarm will activate the alarm before the intruder gets to your home so it provides an early warning system.

Installing beams is preferable to installing electric fencing when you have a precast wall as previously mentioned a precast wall is not a security wall and putting any anti climbing device on these types of walls are ineffectual as a security measure and as a deterrent.

One type of infrared beam is disguised as a garden light which provides the benefit of being disguised and the additional benefit of providing light. The beams must be positioned at a sufficient height to prevent false activations by animals.

 

Area Lighting

 

Area lighting is the lighting used to light up open areas such as your lawn. This type of lighting is normally located on houses and confused with flood lighting. Area lighting must be positioned to light up the area between the perimeter of your house and your home itself.

Using area lighting on passive activation will provide an indication of an intruder but it must be positioned to ensure that any dog in the area covered will not trigger the sensor and switch the light on.

 

Flood Lighting

 

Floodlighting is the lighting that illuminates vertical faces such as walls or the sides of buildings. This can be used as an early warning system to indicate the presence of an intruder on passive activation especially when you are sleeping at night.

Consider placing a very bright floodlight (500 watts) outside your window so on activation at night your bedroom is illuminated by a very bright light which should wake you up.

 

Burglar Bars and Gates

 

Burglar bars and security gates are very good security measures as they delay intruders. The majority of house robberies are committed during times when you will be home and your alarm system will not be activated. This when physical barriers provide the protection against intruders as your detection system is off.

It is advisable that any burglar bar or security gate be on the inside of the windows or door they are meant to protect. The reason for this is that to get to this security measure a window or door would need to be broken which makes a noise which can result in the intruder being detected.

If you can afford internal and external bars then by all means put then in place as the more measures the better your security. The Spanish style security bars are not recommended as the gap on the sides is relatively easy for an intruder to squeeze through.

With security gates internally a sliding style gate is a good choice as they are hardy and have a minimal aesthetic impact. With external gates the following require consideration:

  1. The lock is sufficiently protected, must preferably be a lever type lock not a pin tumbler type (Yale key) lock.


  2. The hinges are strong enough to withstand an attack; normal door hinges are insufficient for a security gate.


  3. The method of affixing to the house or frame is strong enough to withstand an attack.


 

Locks and Bolts

 

Having locks and bolts on doors and windows is a very good security measure. Sliding doors are extremely vulnerable to being lifted off of the rail they are on. By installing a simple bolt at the top and bottom of the opening door will prevent it from being lifted off the rail. The diagram below illustrates bolt positions:

With normal doors having bolts strategically around the frame will prevent the door from being opened. The door must be of sufficient strength to with stand an attack. Using full thickness solid wooden doors is advisable for front and rear doors and as an internal door for use on a safe haven. The diagram below illustrates the position for the bolts on a normal door. As a relatively cost effective security measure bolts can be put onto a door for a room to be used as a safe haven inside your home.

 

Burglar Alarm

 

As previously mentioned a burglar alarm with armed response should always be your first priority simply because then you have a response facility which can make a difference even though there are no guarantees. Insurance companies may also insist on a burglar alarm before they insure your home contents.

A burglar alarm normally consists of door contacts, Passive Infra Red (PIR) Detectors and panic buttons. A standard alarm normally has 8 zones which will be used dependent on the layout of your home. The location of the PIR’s is vitally important, they must be positioned to overlook as many entry points i.e. doors and windows, as possible, attempt to locate them to act as a back up to door contacts.

An important area to alarm that is often overlooked is the roof space. If an intruder decides to target your home and the security measures on the windows and doors are formidable they may decide to come through the roof. It is easy to lift roof tiles and enter the attic. The PIR is best positioned to be activated when the intruder opens up the access hatch to gain access to the house below.

Another item that can be used as a standalone alarm and protection device is a pepper alarm. This is a device which has an integrated PIR linked to a siren and on activation disperses pepper spray into the room it is located thereby forcing the intruder to vacate the room. These devices are expensive and come in a hard wired or a battery operated portable version.

If you are not in a position to afford a full alarm system from a security company then there are portable battery operated alarms available. These battery operated systems consist of door contacts and PIR Detectors with integrated sirens but they cannot be linked to an armed response. They can purely be used to set of an alarm to warn you of an intruder when you are home or act as a deterrent to an intruder when the alarm activates. These devices retail for a few hundred rand per device and as an affordable device combining detection and alarm capability against an intruder then they are a cost effective option.

One way to use the above type of alarm devices is in your bedroom, most people have heard the horror story of a person attempting to climb in your open bedroom window whilst you are sleeping at night. By strategically placing one of these devices close to the open window it will activate if anyone attempts to climb in your window.

As you do not set any normal alarm in your bedroom at night this is a good, affordable measure. This type of device can be placed anywhere in your house where you may anticipate an intruder to move, such as in your passageway or on your stairway leading to the bedrooms. This provides an ideal early alarm of an intruder approaching your sleeping area.

For people who live in informal accommodation these alarms are ideal for them as they are an alarm that can be used in any environment because they are portable and can be simply placed on a floor thereby not requiring any mounting. The only drawback is they are battery operated so you have to check them regularly to ensure the batteries haven’t gone flat.

 

Internal Gates

 

Internal security gates are advisable to use as a barrier between the living and sleeping areas of your home. The purpose of this gate is to prevent an intruder getting to you and your family whilst sleeping. It will act as a deterrent should the intruder be burgling your home and decides to see what is in the bedrooms.

This measure in conjunction with a mobile passive activated siren should create enough of a deterrent to make the intruder flee, waking you up in the process to enable you to contact the police or your security company. This is your primary security measure to keep your family safe from being victimised by intruders in your home whilst sleeping.

 

Inside Dog

 

Internally a dog can be used as a deterrent but more importantly to raise the alarm. For this purpose your smaller dogs are preferable as they tend to be more sensitive and will continually bark raising the alarm. Research shows that dogs are the biggest deterrent to house robbers.

 

Door Wedge

 

As a very cost effective measure a door wedge can be used to slow down an intruder attempting to get into a room. The results a wedge can achieve will depend on the material the wedge is made from with rubber being preferential, and from the surface the wedge is on. As the wedge relies on grip if the floor covering does not provide good grip then it will affect the efficiency of the wedge.

 

Safe Haven

 

Having a safe haven in your home is something which can be implemented relatively cheaply and be of great value to your family’s safety. Consider using the main bedroom in your home for your safe haven. The reasons for this are:

  1. It is normally the last room in the house, potentially furthest away from the intrusion.


  2. It normally has an en suite bathroom in the event of you having to be in the safe haven for a period of time.


To implement a safe haven in your home you want to do the following:

  1. Put in a solid wooden or steel door at the entrance to the room to be used as a safe haven.


  2. Put additional bolts at strategic points on the door as shown in our earlier illustration.


  3. Ensure you have some form of personal defence weapon, if you have a pepper spray you can direct this under the door to attempt to deter the intruder.


  4. Ensure you have a fire extinguisher, if the intruder wants to get in and cannot they may consider attempting to burn you out.


  5. Ensure you have a cell phone that is available to call for assistance.


  6. Consider having an emergency escape exit from the safe haven but this will increase the costs.


 

PDW

 

Should all your security measures be circumvented your last line of defence will be a personal defence weapon. Larger pepper sprays are available specifically designed for home defence purposes and are highly recommended, alternatively have a few smaller ones available at strategic positions.

If you own a firearm then you must be in a position to access and use the firearm a firearm locked in a hidden safe may not provide the best option to access the firearm when it is required. Having as many measures in place to prevent and detect an intrusion is imperative to enable the time for you to get to your PDW especially as being at home you may not have it on your person.