Securing estates

May 2007 Residential Estate (Industry)

Stephen Mundy, group managing director of Chubb Security Southern Africa, discusses the security threats facing those living in residential estates, and some of the solutions.

The main threats facing those living in residential estates and complexes tend to be house break-ins, hijackings and armed robberies.

The house break-ins/armed robberies tend to be what is commonly known as an 'inside-job' and hijackings usually take place before the victim enters the complex.

Petty theft often also takes place within a secure residential estate. This theft is usually in the form of mobile phones or the theft of washing from washing lines. This can sometimes occur when contractors are within the boundaries of the estate performing various duties such as garden services or pool maintenance.

Residents within secure estates often become complacent, believing having guards at the entrance to the estate, a fence around their estate will deter criminals and therefore lower the level of crime within their area. This results in them neglecting the personal security of their own home. This makes these estates a soft target and also a prime target due to the perceived affluence in such estates.

We believe the security threats at complexes have steadily increased and criminals have become craftier in their ways of slipping through the main security point. Estates are now implementing more sophisticated access measures at each point within their individual estates - however, budget always dictates how sophisticated these security systems will ultimately be.

The only way to deal with any aspect of crime in residential estates is to ensure residents are aware and informed of any security risk, no matter how small. Access to residential estates would need to be discussed with the management/home owner committees of such estates to ensure that response companies have access to the estate to render a service directly to individual armed response clients.

In some instances estates will deal with a preferred security service supplier with their own dedicated armed response vehicle. This means the vehicle is available at all times to render a service to the residents.

Some estates, in addition to electric fencing, also erect razor wire, have guards with dogs who patrol the perimeter fences 24 hours a day, employ bicycle or motorbike patrols, etc.

There are many additional security measures that can be installed - again budget plays a large part in the decision made here.

Two different approaches are typically used in residential security:

If the complex is run under a sectional title basis and is run by a managing agent, then usually the managing agent will have an agreement with a preferred security supplier who will supply the guards and the armed response vehicle/s. The individual homeowner may still choose to have their own security provider.

The second option is for the residents to contribute to the guards at the entrance and ensure they have their own alarm system linked to the chosen armed response company.

The majority of our clients are in the residential space, however we also specialise in providing sophisticated security installations in residential estates and complexes. We offer community policing officers (CPOs) on bicycles who patrol these estates and ensure a visible security presence. The CPOs are issued with remote panic buttons and are able to summons back-up in the form of armed response officers to assist in the event of an emergency.

Individual residents are then urged to link their alarm systems to our Monitoring Centre. The armed response officer is dispatched to the site to investigate.

The secret to the success of such a project is the supervision and management. Regular meetings between the security service provider and the management committee or representatives of the residents ensure that information is constantly supplied to all concerned parties. Communication with the residents is also vital.

Chubb holds monthly community forum meetings and encourages members of the public to attend these meetings where they can interface with us, other security organisations and the SAPS. We use these meetings as a platform to liaise and discuss ways of making these areas a safer environment in which to live.

For more information contact Chubb Security South Africa, +27 (0)11 761 7272,,

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