Seven steps to secure your complex ahead of the festive season
Holidays are notorious for being a risky time for crimes like burglaries and break-ins. December is just around the corner and many people are planning to go away over the festive season, increasing the opportunity for criminals to strike.
Remaining vigilant and prepared are the best ways to protect your community scheme during this time. After all, as they say, prevention is better than cure!
Here are seven tips to prevent your community scheme from becoming another crime statistic:
1. Perimeter protection
An electric fence is the first step to deter and delay opportunistic criminals from entering the community scheme.
Electric fences are usually fitted with alarms that warn of any breaches, allowing early detection. Ensure that the alarm is tested regularly, in working order and linked to an armed response service.
Intruders often bypass electric fences by slipping through underneath them, so add an extra layer of perimeter security by putting spikes underneath the fence.
Determined would-be intruders are known to test electric fences, so ensure that:
- the fence is adequately maintained,
- you regularly check that the fence is armed, and
- any trees and foliage that may allow access and trigger false alarms are trimmed.
In the unlikely event that your community scheme does not have one yet, ensure that you get the fence installed by a registered and reputable installer that can issue a valid certificate of compliance.
2. Beam me up
Determined intruders do unfortunately sometimes manage to get past electric fences. The next line of defence is outside beams (or sensors) that can trigger an alarm when intruders have gained access to the complex.
Enlist the help of a security company to ensure that beams on common property areas are not easily triggered by pets, children and/or late arrivals. The beams can be linked to a guardhouse, allowing guards and/or armed response to be dispatched.
Encourage unit owners to install external beams in their gardens as an added layer of protection.
If you do not already have a security system in place, ensure that you allow sufficient time for installation and testing before you go away. This will ensure peace of mind so you can rest easy.
Ensure common property areas like gardens, passages and garages are well-lit to serve as a deterrent and prevent intruders from hiding in dark corners of the complex.
A security system may pose an expense not budgeted for in the scheme’s long-term repair, maintenance and replacement plans. Should your community scheme not have the funds available in reserve for security upgrades, and/or raising special levies are not an option, consider securing affordable, tailor-maid project funding to cover the costs.
3. Access control and visitor management
Access to the scheme needs to be monitored carefully to keep track of everyone who enters your community scheme. Opportunistic criminals would take advantage of any weak links that would allow them access.
Manual access control through a sign-in sheet or guest book is inefficient and has many disadvantages.
A digital visitor management system (VMS) is much more effective to control, manage and keep track of visitors to your community scheme. Apart from checking in visitors, an electronic visitor management system helps combat challenges related to data security, visitor privacy, regulatory compliance and even emergency evacuation.
A high-tech security system could cost your community scheme a pretty penny. We can help you manage and control access in a cost-effective, secure and user-friendly way with our Visitor Management Solutions.
4. Keep an eye on things
Cameras act as effective detection and deterrent measures in the security process. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance allows for the monitoring of activity in and around community schemes.
Security cameras can be installed to observe common property areas to capture vandalism, theft and breaches of security and complex rules. Modern technology allows for facial and license plate recognition, making video surveillance a useful tool at entry and exit points.
Ensure cameras are positioned:
- to cover the main entrances and exits to the area,
- to monitor any special ‘target’ areas (e.g., walls that are often vandalised, or units containing valuables),
- to provide adequate surveillance on common pain points such as parking lots, garages, and high-traffic areas like pools, mailboxes, and laundry areas, and
- in a way that creates an opportunity to identify any offenders.
(A note of caution; cameras are not allowed to potentially infringe on an owner, visitor or tenant’s right to privacy. Find out more about ensuring compliance with POPIA and privacy laws.)
Our team have the experience and expertise necessary to scope, design, install, manage and monitor your CCTV system. Enjoy peace of mind and heightened security with remote monitoring of community schemes with our CCTV Surveillance and Security Solution, brought to you in proud partnership with VOX.
5. Keep your guard up
Crafty criminals scout their intended targets before pouncing. Even if your security guards are completely above board, criminals may exploit their patrolling routines to gain access, and flee the premises, unseen. Should your estate employ security guards, it may be a good idea to consider switching up the roles of the guards or adding extra guards over the festive period.
It is strongly advised to make use of the services of a professional security company when getting security staff like guards. Security companies can take care of the following:
- background checks on security personnel,
- adherence to regulatory and statutory requirements,
- ensuring guards are adequately trained and qualified,
- taking care of staff replacements during leave, and
- reducing the already significant administrative burden on trustees.
Intruders often gain access by pretending to be contractors. Monitor and do spot checks to ensure security guards do not let anyone in without proof or identity, who are not expected, and without permission to enter by a resident.
6. Be prepared for power cuts
We sincerely hope not to have load-shedding during the festive season, but it is best to be prepared. Power interruptions pose a major crime risk when affecting your security system.
Ensure that your backup power for your security system is in good working order for all the following:
- access controlled gates,
- CCTV security cameras,
- outdoor lights on common property,
- beams, and
7. Inside out
Complacency and inattentiveness by residents can often be the biggest culprits in weakening a community scheme’s security system. In some cases, they even compromise security gates to save themselves inconvenience and gain entry.
Now is a good time to remind residents and workers to remain vigilant and constantly keep security at top of their minds. It is important to always remain aware, but even more so during the festive season.
Agree and communicate a plan of action when observing strangers and suspicious persons loitering around in the scheme.
Update the rules to include fines for security breaches to encourage resident compliance.
Be strict when issuing remote controls and access cards for security gates, and ensure access codes are changed regularly.
It is important to be proactive and check your security system well ahead of the festive season. Get in touch with our Solutions Consultants to advise you on which of our suite of solutions can help keep your community safe so you can have peace of mind over the festive season.