Methods and preventive steps

WE hear of break-ins, burglaries and various types of home invasions constantly and the fact is, it could happen to anyone of us. As such, it is crucial for homeowners to equip their homes to avoid being a victim.

Low Sew Mooi, 53, lives in a 2-storey terraced house in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur on her own. Last October, the house was broken into while she was at work.

“My neighbour told me that someone was ringing my door bell and looking for me that afternoon but the guy left after a while.

“I believe the guy was a burglar and he was making sure that nobody was home before climbing up the telephone pole at the back of my house and breaking in through my ceiling,” Low recalls.

Her losses amounted to about RM9,000 and things stolen included cash, a laptop and a camera.

“This incident had taught me a lesson, I spent RM2,700 to change all the locks, install an alarm system and a grille on the ceiling. Now I feel that my home is finally secure,” she says.

With the emergence of social media and the efforts carried out by the police and non-governmental organisations such as local residents’ associations and the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) to promote crime prevention, the public is now more aware about ways they can protect themselves and their homes, says security services and solutions provider SECOM (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd general manager Lee Keang Hong.

Property developers too are aware that one of the main requirements for new homeowners is for a secure home where they can sleep soundly at night. Developers are paying more attention to security features in their projects from building gated-and-guarded housing estates, to installing electrical fencing and CCTVs, to providing alarm systems, Lee tells

Although the newer property projects come with better security, there are still some things that one can do to reduce the risk of break-ins. This is especially true for those who live in older housing areas where there are no guards and where houses are old and flimsy against break-ins.

With the right measures in place, break-ins can be prevented, says MCPF honorary treasurer and MKH Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Eddy Chen.

He notes that most burglars are opportunistic where the perpetrators take advantage of the carelessness of house owners who could have left a spare key hidden outside the house, who have an untidy and unkempt garden where they could easily hide, etc.

“You can’t stop the hardcore criminals from breaking into your house if they really want to but at least you can deter them if you have some security measures in place,” he says.

Chen          Lee


Limit access to your house

Chen says that a home in an area with multiple access points can become an easy target for burglary, so he suggests that residents in such housing estates close down some access points for better security and traffic management.

“The back lane of a house is a vulnerable area as it is the most common entry point for burglars to break into the house. So we should make sure the back of our house is well-secured,” he offers.

Meanwhile, SECOM’s Lee feels that strangers to the community such as contractors or service workers should not be allowed to stay overnight in a housing estate, as there is no telling if there could be a rotten apple among them.


Secure every possible entry

Lee notes that the roof and ceiling of a house are also vulnerable to break-ins as these parts of the house are difficult to secure.

“The most you can do is install a sensor or a grille above the ceiling to hold back intruders,” he offers.


Install an alarm system

House owners can also install an alarm system that is linked to the nearest police station or the cellphone of a person who could help the owner respond immediately if something happens to their home, notes Chen.

“However, not every person can afford an alarm system, so I suggest that we start with the simple things such as securing all locks, doors and windows,” he says.


Ensure a clear vision of the surroundings

Besides ensuring all doors and windows are closed, Chen reminds one to always have a clear vision of their surroundings.

“If the garden and foliage in your house are not properly kept, criminals may take advantage of it to sneak into your house without anyone noticing,” he says, adding that one should always switch on the porch lights at night and inform the local city council of non-functioning street lights.


Do not leave any tools outside your home

Lee warns that leaving tools and a ladder outside the house can be dangerous as criminals would make use of these to get into the house.

“Meanwhile, allowing letters and newspapers to pile up while you are away on vacation is also something you should never do as it is a sign telling people that ‘nobody is home’,” he says.


Do not show-off your wealth

Chen also warns that social media postings are becoming popular channels for those looking for potential victims.

“Hence, do not show off your wealth and disclose your vacation schedule as robbers will find out these important information through social media,” he says.


This story first appeared in pullout on Jan 27, 2017, which comes with The Edge Financial Daily every Friday. Download pullout here for free.

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