It is a good security habit to “batten down the hatches” when it gets dark earlier in winter, says
Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT.
This often means ensuring gates are properly closed and locked, all garden equipment and furniture is stored away, locking the garages and cars and calling the dogs into the house so that you can activate the garden beams.
Hattingh stresses there are two important defence barriers at any property – good perimeter protection outside and an alert dog/s inside.
She points out that dog poisonings have become a major factor pet owners keep their animals indoors at night these days, but it is also good because an alert dog inside the home is a valuable early-warning system.
“Just like a dog barking profusely inside the home when it hears something, so should your electric fence, outdoor beams or alarm system be warning you of a breach of your perimeter,” says Hattingh.
“The only way to truly protect your property is with perimeter protection that is linked to an armed response service provider. Criminals often test out electric fencing or outdoor beams to determine exactly this and once they see nobody is responding to the alarm, they won’t hesitate to jump the wall.”
Importantly, she adds, homeowners should never ignore an alarm activation from an electric fence or outdoor beams, nor their dog barking continuously.
“There are many things which can cause a false activation of an electric fence, beams or an alarm system, like insects or foliage and birds. If this is the case, you need to get the problem fixed urgently so that you and your security company know your system is functioning properly and reliably.
“Similarly, dogs can sometimes bark at their own shadows but they should not be ignored, especially if they persist. Get up and have a look around and out of the windows. Remember dogs have an acute sense of smell and hearing so it is wise to trust they have heard or seen something.
“It is not advisable to throw open the doors and march out into the dark to investigate – don’t let the dog run out into the garden either. Wait for the call from your security company and have peace of mind the right help has been dispatched.”
Another point Hattingh makes is that people working from home must also have a routine of locking up as it gets dark.
“Many people are under the false impression that their home is safer because they’re there all day. This is often not the case – in fact, criminals know if you’re home so is your cellphone, laptop, handbag, car keys, etc.
“Animals are no doubt inside the house with you all day too, when the perimeter security and outdoor beams are probably not on. This makes you vulnerable to an attack.”
FADT provides these tips for keeping criminals out:
- Check for weaknesses in your perimeter protection and make sure it is linked to an armed response company.
- Arm outdoor beams during the day when you are inside.
- CCTV linked to armed response gives your response company invaluable insight into what is happening on your property while they are enroute to help you.
- Check what your dogs are barking at, whether they are inside or outside. Bring dogs inside at night and be alert to their barking during the night.
- If many people are home at the moment, working and studying, make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to security and knows the daily drill.
- Never allow strangers onto your property no matter who they claim they are.
- Report anything or anyone suspicious to your security provider or the police.