How to stay safe in your residential estate

Good personal safety habits should never be neglected or forgotten. They play a major role in preventing potential crime, and should be encouraged even if you live behind the walls of a residential estate or security complex.

“Residents often become complacent with regard to their security, and think that they can drop their guard the moment they drive through the estate’s gates.

We urge residents to remember that they still have a part to play in keeping themselves and fellow residents safe,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT.

Crime syndicates often target lifestyle estates exactly because those residents tend to become complacent with regard to security.

Article continues below...

“A particularly serious problem is information passed on by people who live on, or have regular jobs within estates. Armed with information, and their own reconnaissance, the criminals keep finding new ways of gaining access to estates.”

Estate security companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their service to residents, and have introduced a range of technological measures such as access-control systems, movement-activated cameras, and constant patrols.

Regardless of the measures that may be in place, it still remains vital that residents play their part. Hattingh offers the following safety tips for estate residents:

  • Do not rely on perimeter security alone. While perimeter security measures have been successful in driving down crime in estates, residents still need to take precautions in their homes. Once criminals gain access to properties within estates they often have free rein because residents become complacent about their personal home security within these developments.
  • Be sure to lock doors and windows and ensure vehicles are locked, even if parked in a garage and do not leave valuables lying around, particularly where they may be visible to passers-by.
  • Check the references of your domestic worker and gardener. Very often crimes within estates are carried out with the assistance of a domestic staff member. Make sure you have properly checked your domestic worker’s and gardener’s references and educate them on keeping your home secure when you are not there.
  • Watch out if there is construction taking place. Having construction workers on site within estates has historically resulted in elevated crime levels. Whether this is a direct result of construction workers having access to the estate, or because of the increase in traffic in and out of the estate remains a mystery. Take extra precautions.
  • Report suspicious behavior. One of the modus operandi within these estates is for a crime syndicate to move into a home for a period of time. During this time they monitor the behavior of residents and initiate house break-ins in the estate before moving out.
  • Be alert when entering and exiting the estate. Criminals have targeted residents leaving from or returning to estates and hijacked them a few meters from the gates or followed them inside and robbed them by tail gating them as they enter the premises. The reality is that people relax and become less and less alert the closer they get to home. Do not think that just because there is a security guard at the gate that you can become complacent.
  • Know your neighbors. Make sure you have the contact details for the home owners next door, so that you can reach them in case of an emergency or if you suspect that something might be amiss. Keep the contact details for any security teams deployed on the estate close by, so that you can contact them quickly in case of an emergency or if you notice suspicious behavior.