Living in an Estate or a complex can give residents the false impression that security is not a priority. Over the last four weeks there have been a number of incidents in secure complexes and estates in the Benoni area which have raised a red flag.
In one instance an armed robbery took place at a complex on Krischner Road, Brentwood Park at approximately 01:45 where four armed suspects broke into a townhouse only waking the female resident when they were by her beside. In another incident at a complex on James Road Fairleads, Benoni three armed suspects broke into a complex at approximately 4am. In both instances the suspects made off with an undisclosed amount of goods. Fortunately there were no injuries.
Milly Barnard, Community Development Manager at Fidelity ADT, says complex and estate residents should never be complacent. “The perception is often that very high walls and fancy entrances to complexes deter criminals. They do certainly act as a deterrent, but they are not full proof,” says Barnard. The bottom line is that even in a secured complex, there is always a risk of burglaries and theft from inside and outside the complex and everyone needs to remain vigilant and responsible for their personal security.
She says complexes often become vulnerable when they are not fully let or where construction workers are still present. “If you are in a complex like this it is advisable to try and make sure you are part of the security contingency planning, conducting regular security drills and monitoring of security systems. We highly recommend that residents have alarms and other security measures in place in their individual units. It is not uncommon to hear of cases where criminals have moved into complexes posing as residents and then break into houses before moving out with their stolen goods,” she says.
Here are a couple of added security hints for owners and domestic staff from Fidelity ADT to keep in mind:
For the complex
- Access control is a key component of the security solution. Having a guard that mans the gate and is also expected to patrol is an issue. The entrance should be manned at all times, even if residents have their own access cards The guard also needs to be able to alert a reaction company if security is under threat or assistance is needed.
- The security systems can be nullified when there is little or no provision for the safety of guards on duty. An increasing criminal modus operandi is to observe the guard and then hold him at gunpoint allowing the criminals to enter the complex at leisure. Guard room windows are mostly never bullet proof or even tinted to ensure that the movement of the guard cannot be monitored from outside the complex.
- Security is sometimes compromised for aesthetics. “In our experience, we’ve found that often body corporates are shocked when a security specialist points out vulnerable areas in the complex’s security. It makes sense to have a security specialist involved from the get go if possible or to do a thorough assessment before security is installed or upgraded,” says Goodenough.
For individual complex residents:
- Never let in strangers in unless you have verified who they are.
- Always keep your panic button on you at all times, especially when going outside to hang up the washing. Remember to test your panic button regularly.
- Lock the door behind you when going outside and do not put up a fight if suspects get into the house, especially if they have a weapon.
- Know how your house alarm works and test your alarm regularly too.
- Domestic workers should have the contact details available and make sure they can reach the homeowners in the event of an emergency.
- Be the ears and the eyes on the ground. Be on the look out for your neighbour.
- Get to know your neighbour, when you don’t have regular contact with them, save the number under neighbour on your phone. In the event of an emergency, it will be easier to find in your contact details
- Make sure there is a safety what’s App group that is just used for safety emergencies
- Make sure your domestic worker knows how the alarm works during the day
- Join a community group or street group so you are kept informed of crime trends in your area.
- When there is a new neighbour that moves into the complex, make sure they know what the security rules for the complex are.
- Also ensure everyone has emergency numbers ie SAPS Sector vehicle number, Ambulance, Fire and private security for the area.
“The bottom line is that even in a secured complex, there is always a risk of burglaries and theft from inside and outside the complex and residents should remain vigilant and responsible for their personal security,” concludes Barnard.