Seek qualified advice from a security consultant who will carry out a risk assessment and recommend an alarm system specifically suited to your property.

Make sure that your chosen security provider is a registered member of the South African Intruder Detection Service Associations (SAIDSA) as this is a guarantee that any work carried out by them and equipment installed meets the appropriate industry standards.

Test your alarm at least once a month and request the services of a technician immediately if your alarm is faulty. It is important to remember to inform your security provider that you are putting your system into the “Test” mode.

Where possible, install exterior lighting that can be controlled remotely from inside the house. It is also worth considering demand lighting which is activated by a motion detector.

Try to reduce foliage and bushes in the vicinity of your driveway as these act as good hiding places for would-be criminals.

Increase visibility – Do you have any high walls or tall hedges obscuring your view of the property? Try to remove these if possible.

Automatic gates are preferable as you don’t have to leave the safety of your vehicle in order to access your premises.

Create a “safe area” in your home by fitting a wrought iron gate or an expanding grille gate into which the family can retreat in an emergency.

Install a safe to store valuable items and copies of keys. Wall safes are usually not fireproof and therefore not suitable for cash or documents.

Add an emergency number to the speed-dial function on your phone.

Be vigilant when parking

Park in a well lit and secure area when in public. At home, park your car in a garage if possible, as it would be out the eye of inquisitive thieves as well as being protected from anything that can damage your vehicle.

Lock your garage at night and an alarm system can only be beneficial. When parking in public, always make sure you park in the full view of the public.

Protect your belongings

Ensure that your items are not visible to prying eyes when stopping at traffic lights or in a parking lot. Don’t give away clues that you might have valuables in your car such as satnav holders or auxiliary cables.

Items such as handbags or sports/gym bags, and electronics should be covered or taken out of the vehicle completely.

Know where your keys are

Signal jamming is becoming more and more prevalent, so when using the immobiliser to lock your car, manually check if the car is locked via the door handle before walking off.

Never leave your keys in easily accessible areas. (Close to windows etc)

Don’t leave your keys in the ignition while running short errands.

Never leave your jacket in public places with your keys in it.

Lock your keys away along with your possessions when going to gym.

When driving, lock your doors.

This is a short check-list for what you should photograph with your cell phone, immediately after an accident:

The positions of vehicles, from far enough away to show how and where they came to rest, relative to the roadway and any substantial features in the immediate area.

The general scene, including all vehicles and elements if possible, from all available elevated positions, structures or higher vehicles, preferably showing the whole scene.

The 4 sides and 4 corners of each vehicle and/or trailer, individually, from far enough away to show the whole side or the two sides forming a corner.

The damages to each vehicle or trailer, from at least three angles and from a higher angle, from far enough to show the vehicle clearly and from close enough to show the damages properly, if possible.

The license disks and/or licence plates, signage, branding and the make and model of each vehicle and all trailers involved.

The vehicle/s of attending services (law enforcement unit/s, ambulances and/or fire services, towing and recovery units) and any other services and private vehicles present.

Any road surface evidence, like scratch marks, gouges, deposits and fluid spills, tyre marks, debris or any other relevant visible evidence from multiple sides – at the beginning, end and along the length – and in relation to the scene as a whole.

Any obstructions, road closures, road works, road markings, signs, mile markers, unique features or traffic or pedestrians, at the scene – from multiple angles.

Driving licenses, ID Documents, Passports or other identification or business cards of all involved drivers, passengers, witnesses or involved parties, as far as possible.

Contamination of evidence like vehicles being opened by Jaws of Life, moved or lifted to free entrapped occupant’s, photograph this happening – but only if possible and from far enough away not to show faces of victims.

This list is inclusive of the minimum evidence that would best serve the most basic requirements to be of benefit in any insurance claim, dispute or trial.

In all cases and in all jurisdictions, where local legislation trumps any suggestion on this list, local laws apply.

This list may be shared, copied and distributed freely, as long as it is shared completely, as it appears, without any changes and with acknowledgement of the author and copyright holder.

© Stan Bezuidenhout, 2018 – Crash Guys International.

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