High cost of home security

Regeo Scott and Natasha Goenewald in the control room where the CCTV cameras in Oakdale are monitored.
There’s been a recent wave of burglaries in the greater Durbanville area, and residents are spending big bucks on burglar alarms and armed-response to protect their homes. 

A basic alarm system, one with only indoor sensors in the Labiance and Oakdale areas will cost anywhere in the region of R7 000 to R8 000, while in Durbanville the costs can rise to R9 000 to R9500, due to the size of the property, according to various security firms in the area. 

More advanced alarm systems, including cameras, sensors and, in some cases, laser-beam detectors, could cost R25 000 to R30 000.

There’s been an increase in burglaries and thefts from vehicles in the greater Durbanville area in the past month. Last weekend alone, Durbanville police were called out to three burglaries.

Mario Andrews, who has been living in Labiance for just over two years is paying R390 a month for armed response, says that the cost of protecting his family and his belongings brings out a few questions and emotions.
“Myself and my family have made many sacrifices and put in a lot of effort for us to be where we are in our lives so of course, we want to protect that. Having to pay extra costs does though create mixed feelings about our society and the world we live in but I suppose it is something we have to do,” he said.

A Durbanville resident, who did not want to be named as his property had been burgled three times in two years, said he had paid R30 000 to get his house fitted with cameras, laser beams and outside sensors.

“It really is a massive problem for myself and the community, and despite the best effort by police, we are still experiencing high levels of crime. Something needs to be done to ensure greater safety for the community.”

Installing an alarm system does carry extra costs, though, with monthly fees for monitoring ranging from R200 to R280. Adding armed response can set you back an extra R150 a month.

Meanwhile, the Oakdale Neighbourhood Watch, in particular has turned to the installation of CCTV cameras in the area. It has held several fund-raisers to pay for the cameras.

Watch member Natasha Goenewald said: “There are currently five cameras in the area. They were purchased by us, while the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) has put up another two in the area. Each camera that we purchased cost in the region of R25 000 to R30 000, which all came from funds that were raised through numerous events like markets, car washes etc.”

The cameras, while costly, had proved effective and had been hooked up to a citywide network, she said.

“Since the very first day that we switched on the camera system, we got a number of notifications and that has helped Bassett (a local armed-response company) react to crimes in time and to also report it to the police.”

The camera network, she said, had helped police track a vehicle hijacked in Vlei Park to Wallacedene, where they had made an arrest.

The camera network is monitored at the Bassett Burglar Alarm head office in Oakdale.

Regeo Scott, the manager at Bassett, said: “Late on Friday night, at about 2am, our cameras picked up a resident trying to access our gates. The guys in the control room picked this up and were able to track the resident who we later discovered was just hijacked nearby and was looking for help. Our armed response attended to the matter and they were able to help the resident recover his vehicle and his belongings as the thieves were heading to the N1.”

Bellville police spokesperson Captain Johnathan Blankenberg said the police were grateful to have the help of security firms and neighbourhood watches.

“There have been at least five reported arrests over the last month that have been made due to the partnerships we have with these parties.”