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By this time, New Year’s resolutions have been made and broken, and that gym membership card has been banished to that murky corner of one’s wallet where good intentions go to die. You know the spot, right between your video rental loyalty card and that lotto scratch card you were so sure was going to let you quit your day job and sail around the world on your yacht, the Nauti Buoy.

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While a healthier body and mind should be a priority on everyone’s self-improvement agenda, we often neglect to direct our efforts outward and ameliorate the environments in which we exist, and we do so at our own peril.  What we’re saying is, hit that treadmill, kick that bad habit, and let’s bulk up that home security system.

In order to accomplish this, we asked three seasoned security and reaction professionals to give us their pro-tips on how to accomplish the security equivalent of the ultimate beach bod.

EPR Security

EPR Security is a firm specialising in electronic security and surveillance with its head office in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg. With over 20 years’ experience providing security and reaction solutions to the West Rand, the company has developed a keen sense with regard to identifying possible security vulnerabilities in residential premises, and implementing countermeasures.

EPR’s managing director, Johan Booysen, provides the following tips for fortifying your home against criminal intrusion:

Only make use of a security provider which is a registered member of the South African Intruder Detection Service Association (SAIDSA) as this is a guarantee that any work carried out by them and equipment installed meet the required standards

Obtain qualified advice from a security consultant who will carry out a risk assessment and recommend physical barriers and an alarm system specifically suited to your property

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Gate automation will reduce the risk of an attack in your driveway when opening or closing a gate manually      

Test your alarm system at least once a month after informing your security service provider of your intent to do so

Install exterior lighting; consider lighting which is activated by a motion sensor

Reduce or eliminate foliage and bushes in the vicinity of your driveway as these act as good hiding places for criminals

Increase visibility from your home to your points of entry if possible.  Consider installing an intercom, video intercom or CCTV system to increase visibility

GSM-based intercom systems will create the impression that you are home even if you are not, as they will communicate directly with your cellphone

APCAN

The APCAN Security Group is a privately-owned security firm whose rapidly-growing footprint covers Gauteng, Polokwane and Cape Town. Founded in 2004, the company is a significant player in the security arena, and its services run the full gamut of security solutions, from guarding to armed reaction.

APCAN’s Gerhard Oberholzer agrees with Booysen regarding the importance of keeping one’s driveway clear of shrubbery and vegetation that can be used as hiding places for criminals, and adds the following points:

Streetlights – dark streets attract criminals. Ensure that your house is illuminated from the outside and entrances and exits are clear and visible

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Vagrants – vagrants and suspicious people in your neighbourhood need to be dealt with. These people monitor your movement and have time to plot criminal activity

Dumping – a messy neighbourhood attracts criminals and creates the impression that the community is also not concerned about what happens in the area. For example, if you’ve recently bought expensive electronics, be sure to dispose of the boxes properly and do not leave the packaging in the “normal” rubbish as this attracts thieves

Power – frequent power outages deplete your alarm system’s battery, so test and, if necessary, replace batteries at regular intervals. It is also a good idea to invest in a UPS or generator or an additional battery pack for your alarm system

Paul’s Gates

Long-time CENTURION partner Paul’s Gates has been around since the late 70s, and is a turnkey provider of security and access control solutions, with a diverse portfolio including access automation, electric fencing, CCTV and even turnstiles and booms.

According to the company’s Graham Salvado, 70% of burglaries occur during the daytime, and he recommends using all available lines of defence such as electric fences, gates, CCTV and alarm systems. He also stresses the importance of not letting one’s guard down and staying vigilant.

“All crime occurs when one is caught off-guard!” he says.

Centurion Systems would like to thank Johan from EPR, Gerhard from APCAN and Graham from Paul’s Gates for their invaluable and selfless contributions to the maintenance of community safety and security. We owe you a debt of gratitiude.