Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Are you feeling unsafe in your home?
Times are tough which means crime is at an all time high. The last thing you want is unwanted guests on your property and in your home. The best approach is a proactive, preventive one. In security terms this would mean boosting your perimeter security to prevent those intruders even stepping foot on your property. Now you may be asking, “But how do I best secure my home’s perimeter?” Here are 7 ways to boost your perimeter security to deter those unwanted guests.
What is Perimeter Security?
Firstly, what is perimeter security? The perimeter of one’s home is generally the boundary or border of one’s property. In South Africa, this is usually one’s fence line. Perimeter security is, therefore, the systems and elements one uses on the boundary or before to prevent intruders coming onto one’s premises. These include fencing, lighting, cameras, natural barriers and alarms. Now, let’s take a closer look at these initial lines of defense so that you can best secure your home and property.
First and foremost, lighting is one of the best deterrents. A dark fence line or entrance makes an intruder's job easy as they can slip in and out without detection. A well-lit gate and fence line makes this more difficult and less appealing for an intruder.
There are a few ways one can create a well-lit perimeter.
Flood lights on tall poles illuminate large areas.
Lights on fence or wall posts to light up the whole perimeter.
Motion sensor flood lights or lights on the perimeter or around one's garden and house. The benefit of motion sensor lighting is 3-fold. First, it alerts one as to where movement is occurring, an early warning system. Second, it gives the intruder a fright which could potentially scare them off. And thirdly, it saves on electricity.
A few things to remember when it comes to lighting your perimeter.
Shadows - Obstructions such as trees and walls will create dark shadows so take this into account when positioning your perimeter lighting.
IP Rating - Perimeter lighting is generally fully exposed to the weather elements so be sure you are using lighting that is rated IP65 and above. (See https://www.northsideelectrical.co.za/post/22-do-s-don-ts-to-make-your-outdoor-lighting-spring-to-life for my information)
Solar-powered lighting - If you want to save on electricity and go on the greener side, there are many solar powered flood light options that you can go with for your perimeter lighting.
Another major part to your perimeter security is your wall or fence as it is the physical barrier that prevents intruders from simply walking in. Both have their pros and cons with regards to cost, visibility and strength but the main advantage is that it is the physical obstacle around your property. Most South African’s have some form of wall or fence which is a great start but to improve on this and really create a perimeter to ‘shock and awe’ one can use electrical fencing. Electric fencing is a great option as it can be on a small scale or a larger scale depending on your budget and prevents those unwanted guests from climbing over.
Small budget - 2 or 3 lines of electric fencing on top of your wall or fence
Large budget - Full fence or electric fencing
There are those few intruders that are willing to have a shocking experience to get onto your property but this is where an electric fence linked to your alarm system is very helpful as it also acts as a ‘tripwire’, meaning that if it gets triggered an alert will be sent to you and/or your security company thus allowing you or security company to catch the culprit before they even set foot in your home.
3) Automated Gates
Gates are a weak section of your security perimeter as it is the section that allows easy access into your property, so this section needs to be boosted to be secured. Hijackings at your own gate have become a common trend so to get out of your car to open the gate at any time of the day is risky. Or simply have a gate that can easily be opened by not only you but anyone, including the intruders, makes your property an easy target. Automated gates are definitely the solution and a convenient one at that. No need to get out of your car and easy access denied.
To take this option one step further and better secure this ‘weaker’ point of the perimeter is to upgrade your motor to a faster one. Yes, this is possible. A faster motor means that your gate opens quicker which results in you being able to enter your property and re-secure it in a shorter time thus narrowing the opportunity for those intruders or hijackers to attack.
4) CCTV and monitoring
CCTV and other monitoring systems allow you to keep an eye on your perimeter from the comfort of your home or even from your mobile device. You can’t be at all corners of your perimeter at once and you definitely don’t want to be creeping around to see what that noise was in the middle of the night. Cameras give you the freedom to check everywhere at once without stepping foot outside. This is not only easier and safer for you but can give you those precious few minutes to react, press your panic button or call the security company/police giving you the chance to avoid that dreaded face-to-face encounter.
You may be thinking, “What if I am sleeping and not watching my CCTV?” Well, this is where the electric fence, alarm and CCTV all work together so well. If the electric fence alert is triggered by someone trying to shockingly climb over the fence then you are notified and have the time to check the CCTV and alert the security company. And depending on what CCTV system you have, you can even check this alert while on holiday or out with friends, amazing right?! It also potentially gives you footage of the intruders faces so that you can identify them if necessary.
A few things to remember when it comes to cameras on your perimeter.
CCTV cameras need to have adequate lighting for the infra-red to kick in and for you to have a clear view at night so make sure your perimeter lighting is up to scratch.
Cameras are a deterrent in of itself, if an intruder is checking out your home and sees the cameras watching them they generally get intimidated and go find an easier target.
Much like the electric fence acting as a ‘tripwire’, beams and garden sensors are like the invisible ‘tripwire’. They are weatherproof infrared detectors that are triggered when someone walks passed or through them. These are connected to one's alarm and sets the alarm off when activated with a 3-fold benefit.
Alerts you and your security company that there is an intruder and someone from the security company can be sent to investigate.
Allows you to know where on the property the intruder is as each beam has a specific alert code.
Scares the intruder away before even entering your home.
6) Natural barriers
Natural barriers or obstacles include things like a heavy tree line, large hedge or thorn bushes. These have their pros and cons and need to be addressed when upgrading your perimeter security.
Thorn bushes and large hedges are a natural deterrent as they tend to be too thick and painful to maneuver through.
Cover for intruders to sneak around your perimeter without detection.
Trees on the fence line could assist unwanted guests to access to your property by simply climb up and over.
Creates shadows and disrupts camera vision.
Remember, capitalise on the advantages while removing the negatives because you don’t want to upgrade your perimeter security and then it becomes ineffective because of negative natural barriers or obstacles.
7) Alarms & Alerts
In order for the above security measures to work effectively many need to be connected to an alarm system, such as the beams, sensors and electric fence alerts. An alarm system informs you as well as your security company about breaches or attempted breaches to your security allowing you and your security company to take the necessary action.
Early warning of intruders
Security company alerted with timely response
Scares the intruder away before even entering your home
Notification of potential breach whether home or away.
Monthly cost for the security company
Potential false alarms - which need to be addressed and fixed timeously
And if you want another alarm system, over and above the one just discussed, that provides a full service, including love, cuddles and entertainment, then a dog or three is always a great way to deter those intruders while alerting you to any unwanted guests. But remember, this precious line of defense needs to be treated with love, care and respect to work effectively.
If you can’t do all of the above suggestions, add a new perimeter security where and when you can because a well-designed and implemented perimeter security is your best and first line of defense and should be prioritised in our current state and country. Yes, we love our country and are proud to be South Africans but we need to be realistic and do our part to secure our home. We hope these ways to improve your perimeter security have been helpful and useful and we hope that you are able to create a formidable fortress to ward off any and all unwanted guests.
Remember, if you require any of these above products or advice visit one of Northside Electrical's branches or call and chat to a security sales consultant to personally assist you with your specific security needs. Northside provides the KZN region with superior quality electrical, lighting and security products with remarkable service.
Red Hill - 031 569 1005
Ballito - 032 946 0977
Durban North – 031 564 5692
Hillcrest – 031 765 4140
Umbilo – 031 942 7755 (temporary)
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.