A comprehensive guide in making sense of security for home or place of work

It is very easy to become overwhelmed when trying to pick the best alarm system for your home or your office.

The list of options is long and it keeps growing as technology develops and adapts, but at the end of the day, there are two basic questions you should ask – what system will be the best at keeping people off your property and is that system the best at alerting you when things go wrong.

“The best advice we could give anyone is to make sure you speak to an expert before deciding on any installation.

“It is also worthwhile speaking to neighbours in your suburb or to other business owners close-by to ask them what experiences they have had, or if there are particular crime trends that you need to be aware of and prepare for,” suggested Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at armed response company Fidelity ADT.

Depending on your budget available, make sure you choose a system that offers the most effective type of perimeter protection alongside a reliable monitoring capability.

Costs and options also change regularly, so it is always worthwhile doing check to see if the system you have installed in the past is still the most efficient one at your disposal today.

Perimeter protection

The purpose of perimeter protection, explained Hattingh, is to deter any would-be criminals from trying to illegally access your property.

When it comes to the first layer of security, she said having a motorised gate is the best option – but if this is not within your budget, then ensuring the area surrounding your gate as well as the area between the gate and the garage is clear of foliage is key.

“You don’t want any areas in which a criminal or hijacker could hide or use to their advantage.

“Walls, palisade fencing and electric fencing are also all effective deterrents if installed correctly. “Make sure you use a professional for the job.

“Beams also fall within the perimeter layer and can be very effective if it is connected to the main residential building or workplace.

“Free-standing beams are susceptible to lightning damage, they are easily triggered by pets and plant movements and criminals can easily bypass and damage them.

“The whole objective of perimeter security is to stop criminals from reaching the main building,” said Hattingh.

Burglar bars are another key element of perimeter security.

“What is important with external burglar bars is the quality of the bars and the area where they are anchored to the wall.

“Avoid cheap tin bars and ensure professional instal them so they can’t be screwed out of the anchoring walls. “Another aspect to remember is to leave an escape route in case of a fire,” she added.

Monitoring capability

Now that you have put in place the best possible deterrent, you need to choose a system that alerts you immediately if the perimeter has been breached.

“An alarm system is only effective when properly maintained, tested regularly and is activated.

“We have responded to too many incidents where customers forgot to arm their systems or have neglected to test the systems for a long time,” said Hattingh.

The best system for you, she explained, is the one that will alert your armed response company that there has been any unauthorised entry at your home or your place of work.


“Again, there are many options you can consider. It ranges from having magnetic sensors on doors and sliding windows, passive sensors in halls and walkways that pick up movement, and even CCTV cameras that are triggered by movement so that you can monitor your property by remote. Talk to an expert about what option is best for you, and whether the options you chose in the past are still the best ones today.

“When considering security ‘must-haves’ remember you need a layered approach and invest in good quality products. They will generally last longer if maintained and provide better security, which is what you should be aiming for at the end of the day,” said Hattingh.

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