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The price of privacy

High walls hide crime

Two emails that dropped into my inbox today prompted this blog post. The first was from our security village warning of a violent robbery that occurred the previous day. The second was from Trellidor Marketing and Sales Director Peter Rawson, highlighting a newspaper article about crime and property prices.

The first email really worried me because the robbery occurred four houses away from ours, in broad daylight. I was working at home at the time and had absolutely no idea what was happening to my neighbour. Four armed robbers lifted their gate clean off its rails, then held the resident at gunpoint. All that trauma just to steal a laptop, cell phone and wallet.

The second one from Pete included an article written by Brendan Peacock for the Sunday Times on 15 February 2015. It caught my attention because of the following quote by Durban University of Technology’s Professor Monique Marks, who heads the Urban Futures Centre:

The high suburban property perimeter walls that typically contributed to a home’s sale value were perhaps not serving their purpose. After conducting research into boundary structures in conjunction with the police and private security companies, Marks said that crime happening behind high walls was, statistically, more violent.

“Isolation is partly what occurs with high walls. It actually generates insecurity. The most violent crimes happen behind high, solid walls. With more permeable barriers that allow neighbours, police and patrols to see into a property, the crime tends to be less serious and more opportunistic.”

I checked the house in my street that had been robbed and sure enough, you can’t see anything from the street due to walls and shrubs.

Perimeter walls protect criminal activity

It makes sense when you think about it: we all want to create privacy from nosy passers-by, but that very privacy makes us vulnerable. We live in a gated community with very little crime due to regular security company patrols, boom gates controlling access, and alert neighbours. But we still missed this one because no-one passing by could see anything untoward.

If we can’t tear down the walls, take precautionary action

Many of us are stuck with high walls and quite like the seclusion it provides. So here are some security tips from seasoned Trellidor franchise owners to counteract the fact that robbers feel like they can do what they like behind those walls when they breach them. 

  • Make sure every door and window is properly secured with reliable gates and burglar bars.
  • Ensure these are locked at all times, even (or especially!) when you’re home.
  • Always keep a portable panic button near you to press for help if necessary.
  • Always check who is at your gate or front door before opening it.
  • Keep shrubs trimmed so that you can see anyone trying to hide behind them.
  • If you have a choice, opt for fencing that you can see through on the street side of your home so that armed response patrol vehicle personnel can see into your property.
  • Don’t go outside if you hear odd noises. Rather call armed response to check for you.
  • Park parallel to your property when arriving home and wait for the gate to open before driving in. This avoids car-jackers blocking your vehicle in the driveway.

Call your local Trellidor franchise today and ask them to come around and help you develop a security plan. It’s worth the effort for peace of mind.

 


 

 

 

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