With a new year upon us now is a great time to get your ducks in a row and updating your security details should be on the priority list.
“The whole point of having a security provider is so they can assist in your moment of need. To be able to assist they need to be able to contact you and have access to your property. Only by keeping your details updated is this possible,” explains Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.
She adds that the last thing you want is your security company being unable to access your property when you have an emergency just because you’ve changed the code on your digipad or lockbox or did not make any provision for the reaction officers to access your property.
“High walls and electric fences are a great deterrent to keep criminals out but they can also have the reverse effect if they prevent security officers from accessing your property.”
Hattingh encourages homeowners to consider either a lockbox or digipad if access to the property is difficult.
“Both of these can only be accessed with a secure code shared between the homeowner and the security company. As long as that code is not changed the system works well. We are finding that homeowners change their codes following an incident or perhaps just as a safety precaution if there have been changes in staff. This change is often not communicated to the Monitoring Centre and prevents access when the homeowner may need it most. Another point to remember is that every six months you should check the battery of the remote in your lockbox.”
Another potential problem is not alerting your security company about any guard dogs on your property.
“Officers will not enter premises where there are vicious dogs. Vicious dogs can pose difficulties for security companies tasked with protecting the property and can prevent entry. We rely on our clients to tell us whether they have dogs, especially vicious dogs, at their premises. We really try and avoid any harm to animals or our officers so ask that our customers keep us up to date on their pets.”
Lastly, Hattingh urges homeowners to ensure they properly vet any new staff members they may be considering hiring this year.
“Your domestic staff are your home’s first line of defence. That’s why it’s particularly important that you hire staff who have been vetted, are trustworthy and competent.
“Doing the necessary background checks on domestic staff before hiring them may seem like a time-consuming exercise but could make all the difference to your home security. In many cases of break-ins and house robberies we find that there has been inside information shared with criminals.”
Hattingh recommends starting with a criminal record check which can be obtained through the SAPS with the potential employee’s consent. She also suggests doing a reference check with several previous employers.
“Ask questions about dismissals, responsibilities, any security issues, tardiness, and so on. It’s important to speak to more than one previous employer so you can get a good idea of the employee’s track record.
“Let’s work together to ensure this year is a safe one,” she concludes.