The pandemic continues to deliver unimaginable scenarios to ordinary families, with many even opting for semigration to coastal or smaller towns because they are no longer bound to Gauteng by their job circumstance.
This is largely thanks to remote working, which is sharply on the rise due to Covid-19, explains Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT.
“It has become easier for people to take the leap now with a move to the coast or a smaller town instead waiting to retire there, because they are no longer bound to an office and can work from anywhere, so why not?”
Hattingh says while it makes sense and is understandable families are craving as good a quality of life as possible at the moment, they must not forgo the importance of quality home security when moving to a new neighbourhood.
Crime trends are different everywhere so the most important first step, she advises, is to research the area you are moving to.
“Good sources for reliable information on crime trends and neighbourhood security will be your local police, CPF, security companies and the neighbours.
“Remember to look closely at the existing security at the property you want to buy without letting the excitement of the move overshadow your judgement. Is that brilliant sea view really worth it through an expansive sliding door with no security barrier or the rolling expanse of lawn safe with no perimeter security?”
Hattingh advises the following when moving into any new neighbourhood:
- Work with the locals – estate agents, police, CPF, residents – to establish a good idea of crime trends on the ground and how well these are being managed.
- Assess the strength of security from the perimeter inwards all the way inside the property. Check fencing, walls, overgrown foliage and electric fencing and lighting outside. Do you need garden beams and additional sensor lights? Inside the premises, check the quality of locks on doors and windows and the condition of burglar bars and security gates.
- If an alarm is already installed, make sure it is linked to the preferred armed response service provider for that area. This way you can be assured of regular patrols and visibility. Be sure to test the system fully, including panic buttons and the battery pack.
- Make sure the old owners return all the keys, locks and remotes.
- Introduce yourself to the neighbours and swap phone numbers. Neighbours are often the first to notice something amiss or respond to something on your property in an emergency.
- Join the suburb Whatsapp and neighbourhood watch groups to keep up with information about security trends in your area.
“Moving to a new location, for whatever reason, is very exciting. Just be sure your decision isn’t marred by a nasty criminal incident which could have been avoided.
“Remember, criminals are opportunists and new residents in an area are often soft targets simply because they are usually very preoccupied with the move and neglect to immediately ensure the property is secure,” Hattingh says. “Security must remain a priority. Take good security habits with you wherever you go.”