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Author Topic: South African Prespective  (Read 65392 times)


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South African Prespective
« on: November 05, 2007, 09:33:16 AM »
Something I wrote ages back.

“The trick is to slow them down till the cavalry arrives.”

I have been broken into numerous times.
My place of work has been broken into numerous times.
I have discussed this for both work and home with many security consultants, researched this and it has been my “hobby” for 4 years now.
These are some of my solutions (Many things held back as I would like to keep a few aces up my sleeve).
All of them have been tested at work or at home and I personally assisted in installation (or installed it myself) and maintain both systems.
Shout if you want a consumers view on any system I have mentioned.


“Visibility” is a common myth: if your neighbours can see your house from all sides this means so can the criminals. I have fallen for this one 3 times already.
(Its too open, they won’t break in there, everyone will see them).

If parts of your house are visible from the road or the neighbours’ garden/house focus on making these look formidable first.


Add plenty bright lighting with backup power (if you can afford this) for when they cut the power. I use day night switches and florescent or energy savers.
My 50m x 25m garden is lit up like daytime without any dark corners for them to hide in. Total cost = around R400 Total wattage use = around 200/300watt.

The lights help when you are indoors in a dark room as you can see them and they cannot see you. The lights also force them to wait their moment if cars are driving by etc (slowing them down.)

Do not use the motion detecting lights as when they get broken using a kettie/pellet gun or unscrewed chances are you will not hear this in your sleep and if their noises wake you up you will feel comforted because the light outside is not on).


Try having 2 dogs outdoors at night and 2 dogs indoors at night (or more).
Train your dogs not to bark at nothing so that they don’t bug neighbours and so that they don’t cry wolf (patience).

Listen to all the neighbourhood dogs at different times of the day and night. Pay attention so that when something is not right you know they are not just barking at air.

Do not shut your dogs up when strangers are at your front gate but teach them to be quiet on command (you want to train the dogs 2 look vicious unless you are with them and you want your dogs to be intimidating).
Never let your dogs be loose when maintenance blokes come fix the geyser etc (no matter how friendly the dogs are) as you want to give them the impression that the little pug or huge St Bernard are vicious killers.
Teach your dogs 2 only accept food from you. Poisoning is a big issue.

Security gates (outdoors):

Always keep all gates locked (unlock for friends etc if you having a braai but lock after they are in. Don’t just leave it open because friends are coming over just now, there are plenty people in the house etc.)
Make sure the gate inside and out has plenty lighting and no hiding places. (hijackings at gates very common)
If you use a lock with a chain make sure the lock is always pointing to the inside and not outside (even when you go out).
Use a good quality lock.

Garage/Tool shed:

If you have either of the above and it cannot be secured properly make sure any items that could be used for leverage or as a weapon are locked up in your house.
This includes spades, garden forks, anything with a solid long handle, panga’s etc.
(They broke the security bars off my window using a garden fork).

NEVER leave tools lying around in the garden.

Walls, Fencing etc (Perimeter)
Grow a thorny creeper over them (e.g. bougainvillea) or plant something nasty close to them (e.g. sisal) to prevent people climbing them.
Electrify the top or use glass and cement on top if its brick walls, them slide down walls are useless as they just break a section out and climb through unless you can plant sisal or similar on the outside (inside will work as well if you make a deep enough garden bed).

There is a paint in the UK called “no dry paint” Wish we had it here as it makes the walls slippery and marks the potential criminal.

Try removing any items that can make it easier for criminals to get into or out of your garden (branches, Tree stumps, rocks etc)
If you cannot remove an item (e.g. an electrical box, water pipes, gutters etc), place barbed wire or similar on your fence at that spot.

Outdoor security systems.

Infra Red does not work unless it is a dual beam system and has been set up with many fake receivers/transmitters.
Outdoor PIR can easily be fooled by walking behind some cardboard or similar (need 2 verify this but have been told by 2 separate security companies)
Electric Fencing does work IF used in conjunction with armed response and if you have loops installed every 2 meters so that there is no way they can bypass it using jumper cables without the alarm going off.

If you have armed response advertise it, warnings everywhere help 2 make them think twice. If you do not have armed response the boards will probably not help (half these guys have contacts with the armed response and in my view you pretty much pay protection as you would to the mafia in Hollywood)


Check outside your garden and on your gates, walls, etc on a regular basis for any marks that may have been left. (Including bottles, chalk marks, bits of string etc, they learned this trick from a booklet you can download off the ANC website entitled “how to master secret work” download from the historical documents section for more info).

It is called organised crime for a reason.

They send out 1 guy to go scope out an area, preferably someone that works in that area so as not to arouse suspicion. He will scope out all the houses on his way to and from work and see which ones are easy targets, which ones have dogs, security etc.
When he has a couple of houses pinned he will watch those and eventually mark the least secure with the most visible goodies (TV is easily seen through curtains at night giving him a good idea where to look for the entertainment).
He will probably mark 3 to 4 houses and then the gang will try hit as many in as little time as possible.

Guy/guys “breaks down” in front of your house and waits for assistance from a friend he called or spends a bit of time “fixing the problem”. This gives him plenty time 2 check out the house and spot the weaknesses and plan his/their entry and exit routes.

The drunk falling down in front of your house (looking in your direction).

The person coming to you’re gates asking you for work, food or money.

Police, Telkom, etc. Pitching at your door without being asked. Do NOT give them entry till you have called relevant department and made sure they are for real.

Do not allow loitering near your house.
Be sure to know any veldt/alleyways/business back yards etc in proximity to your house intimately as this will give you a fair idea where they will be coming from or running to.
Rather leave that new expensive equipment in the car till no one sees you carrying it into the house.
You get the idea. Watch out for suspicious behaviour.



Well lit on outside, Always locked (day or night)
Putting up decorative reflective things (mirrors, glass, shiny pots, whatever) outside the door so you can use the reflections as a mirror to see what is happening on walls next to entrances is a good idea.
Make sure the doors have either a PIR or a door sensor attached to them.
Glass doors should have flat bar or similar welded on so that a glass panel cannot be broken to gain access.
Dead bolts at top and bottom of doors, as well as adding a few extra hinges also prevent access.
 A security gate is a must but if you can, put that inside the door so that when they break the door open the alarm goes off and they still have to get through the security gate.
My suggested scenario would be front door, small area with alarm panel (preferably so small only 1 person can get in at a time and it should be set up so the door must be closed before the alarm can be disarmed), security gate.


All house windows must be closed at night.
All house windows must have formidable security bars (not these silly decorative things from “die Nutsman” or from the late 80’s early 90’s). Flat bar or square bar welded together to form an outdoor security barrier then roll bolted to the walls with the bolts welded to the barrier to prevent them being unscrewed is about the best bet. If done properly windows can still be opened and the old decorative bars can be left behind as a secondary line of defence.

PIR’s should be installed in all rooms close enough to windows to detect the slightest movement or vibration detectors must be attached to each windowpane.

Bedroom Window.

Place a garden bed or big flowerpot directly under your bedroom window and plant something nasty in it (e.g. sisal).

Do not place your bed with your headboard under the window if at all possible. (Imagine a 9mm pointed in2 your face and someone telling your partner to, “Open up or I shoot him/her!”)
Never leave windows open that allow easy aiming toward you.
Never open the windows all the way and secure them in their semi-open position.
Always keep your curtains closed. (I do have a crack open on either side where I can see out but they cannot see in. If they use a torch they will see a wall or cupboard only).

Indoor Security:

Place a PIR in every room (even the bedrooms, 99% of alarms can be set up to disable certain zones at night).
Security gates separating every room or area (do not separate yourself from other family members in this way!)
You will feel good about this if they break into the kitchen and there is a gate between you and them, Limiting there movement also means they can steal less before the armed response pitches.
Place an emergency button in every bedroom and by all outside doors.
Portable emergency buttons are a bad idea, you always forget where you left it when in a panic whilst permanent fixtures are always in the same place, someone can steal your panic button and set it off repeatedly at night till you disable your alarm or the armed response ignores it.

Practice Worst Case Scenarios and get to know your house as if you were blind. Set up areas where you can get to them when they go from 1 room to the next without them seeing you (Just an open space close to each door where you will not be visible from the other side, leaving no spaces for them to hide wherever possible).

If they are armed and you do plan to retaliate, make sure you can disarm them (even if that means taking there arm off) or kill them BUT make sure you have constant contact with all housemates so you do not hurt/kill the wrong person.


Personal Items must be taken with you to your room every single night (cell phones, handbags, wallets, house keys, car keys etc.)
Small items of value should be kept secured or hidden (cameras, Jewellery watches etc).
There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to securing a safe to a wall (I prefer putting them on the floor in a corner with huge roll bolts into both the walls and floor)
A good idea is to have two safes, the one is hidden and only you know about it. The second has a convincing amount of valuables in (your old camera, cell phone, some jewellery etc) and is the one you show them when they ask where the safe is.

Try having at least two lines of defence per room (burglar bars and PIR/flora)
Lock unused or rarely used rooms.
Try keeping the TV pointed away from windows so it is not so easily visible from outside.


Get to know your neighbours and discuss this with them.
Try get everyone to invest in a cheap 2 way radio system (Game sells camping sets around R450 for two of them) and keep them on and near your bed at all times. The more people in your area with a 2 way radio the better. Do not use it for idle chat and only for emergencies.
Keep your cell phone at hand when sleeping and put your armed response on speed dial.
Do not rely on the Police (this is not there fault they do not have the resources necessary and there hands are tied by human rights, they do not seem to know what GPS stands for as yet either).


CCTV is a form of evidence and very rarely work as a form of defence (deterrent maybe)
Where it does work for defence:
1.   Entrances
2.   To see where people are in your house or garden after you have been alerted.
3.   Outdoor areas that are not visible from where you are.

CCTV only works if your DVR or VCR is in an extremely safe placing that you do not have access to (if you have access so does the criminal).
The other option is to find “the perfect wireless internet connection and remote storage” (good luck).

Cameras must be in hard to reach places or invisible and still be able to get good facial pictures for positive identification as well as showing you as much as possible of surroundings and back round.

Go to if you want details on cameras. “Cheap” cameras can be found at
Both supply security systems as well.


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Re: South African Prespective
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 03:58:27 PM »
Excellent advice and nicely written article.  ;D

On an added note, a nicely trained German Shepherd or Malinois is nice to have inside the house at night.


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Re: South African Prespective
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2008, 01:19:23 PM »
That's some hardcore defense.  I am assuming crime is prevenant in south africa.


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Re: South African Prespective
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 05:44:51 AM »
Yes indeed it is a great article.  I have been building a list of security items as a part of the 'layers' concept and this article contains lots of great nuggets, which have been pulled into my list.


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