Don’t ignore an overactive security system

The sound of an alarm going off or an electric fence “buzzing” is not uncommon in most suburbs, considering the majority of homes are protected from the perimeter inwards with security systems.

These systems need to be regularly checked and properly maintained or their function to protect your home and loved ones could turn into a ‘cry wolf’ scenario,” warns Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT.

“The problem with faulty security systems, like an alarm, is that neighbours eventually become desensitised to the sound of it and nobody bothers to go out to investigate the actual cause,” Hattingh says. “Meanwhile, many of these scenarios are the work of crafty criminals working on a way of gaining entry to premises.”

Common things criminals tamper with include electric fencing and automated gates. They also take advantage of load shedding, which runs alarm and gate motor batteries down, and dog poisoning is a common ploy.

In an ideal world – for security companies especially – homeowners would all ensure their security systems are of high quality and working properly all the time.

Hatting says, however, the reality is that many people install DIY devices and gadgets they buy online or at a store and these are simply not as reliable or durable as systems from security professionals.

Her advice for anyone suffering the pains of a neighbour’s alarm or garden beams going off continuously or having to wear earplugs to block out an annoying electric fence which sparks all night, is to confront the matter head on as quickly as possible – for the safety of the entire suburb.

“There is always an explanation and a way to sort the problem out, so be neighbourly by trying to be part of the solution,” Hattingh says.

5 ways to take action/avoid an overactive security system:

  1. Check if the property is protected by a security company and report it so that they can investigate. People often blame security companies but the truth is homeowners install security systems without linking them to armed response, so no signal comes through to the control room when these are activated. Security companies cannot respond to activations they are not aware of. Ask for feedback from the security company.
  2. Approach the homeowner and express your concern without accusing them of being inconsiderate and negligent. If they have recently moved in they could still be getting used to the property. New users are in the top five reasons for overactive security systems.
  3. Know the causes of overactive security systems so that you can identify potential causes easily. These can range from insects to loose wiring and battery problems. Your security company can offer all the advice you need.
  4. Ensure everyone in the household knows the security protocols and codes and how to summon help in an emergency.
  5. Get proper security systems in place and link these to an armed response service.

“The most secure suburbs rely on neighbours working together to keep criminals out. This means people who have security systems should ensure they are working 100% all the time and, therefore, a true call for assistance in the event of an activation not a noise the neighbours turn a blind eye to,” Hattingh concludes.