Security on the lifestyle block
by Anonymous Author
Lifestyle blocks in rural areas are often easy targets for thieves, and criminals like easy pickings, so don’t make it easy for them.
Avoid leaving ‘starter kits’ for young criminals. These are items like chainsaws and mowers that can be easily taken and quickly sold.
Thieves often survey properties from afar before approaching, so be aware of strange vehicles parked within sight of your place. They also like to drive in to see what security systems you have and the state of doors and windows.
Criminals don’t like walking as they may be more easily seen. So a locked gate (with a good quality lock) is the first defence, despite it being inconvenient for you. Ensure the gate cannot be lifted off its hinges by reversing the top gudgeon.
Record the vehicle numbers of anyone coming to your property with weak excuses such as looking for a named person, or a lost dog. Keep your digital camera handy and photograph them leaving, without them seeing if possible.
An electronic gate with codes for approved users is a more expensive, but very effective alternative. An electronic gate sensor on an open gate too, is another option to let you know when you have company.
So many people are burgled when they are home, for example: when mowing lawns, so lock your door when in the garden or out on the property.
Have an alarm on the house and sheds. Even if you are a long way from town, the criminals will not know how long they have to operate before help arrives, but remember, they may do a test run first and come back later.
Be concerned if they go through the house and take nothing. They could be coming back, especially if they took your spare set of keys clearly named on an obvious hook in the kitchen. Hide spare keys.
Criminals don’t like barking dogs, but be careful and comply with the Dog Control Act regarding containment of the animal.
Arrange an effective neighbourhood watch system with those around you. Letting neighbours know when you are away is very important, so they can notice anything odd. Have a ‘telephone tree’ system of calling neighbours to alert others if there are problems.
Plant trees so there is a visual gap between you and your neighbours and keep checking that it remains clear as trees grow.
If your neighbour’s alarm goes off, visit them in a vehicle and not on foot, as you don’t want to be confronted by a criminal with unpredictable behaviour
Make a record (list, photos and video) of as much of your house contents and farm gear as possible — certainly the big and valuable items. Keep receipts for everything of value purchased, as most insurance companies require this for claims. Mark or engrave all items with your name or phone number and make it obvious wherever possible. Try to limit how much fuel you keep on your property as thieves can always find some way to cut pipes, even if the fillers are locked.
Don’t leave keys in vehicles and bikes at nights or when you go out and lock all doors and windows when you go out. Often this is only a minor deterrent as they are easily broken. Deadlocks are a good idea so thieves cannot get doors open to remove large items.
Don’t leave garden tools like spades and axes, and especially ladders around the outside of the house when you are not there.
Be especially vigilant if you have bush areas or maize crops bounding your property, as they are havens for growing dope. If you suspect dope-growing going on, don’t go in there as there may be booby traps, but report your suspicions to the police.
Always tell the police if you have been burgled even if not much is taken; as even if they cannot do much, it all adds to their information database.
Don’t put your name on the gate or letterbox as criminals look you up in the phone book to see if you are home. Don’t say on your recorded message ‘sorry we are out’ as that’s an invitation to be visited.
Say that you are ‘unavailable’ or ‘cannot come to the phone’.
Be careful when you encounter criminals, as they have little to lose and clearly no respect for you or your property.
They could be on drugs and have weapons, so talk quietly to them, move slowly and allow them an escape route.