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  • Writer's pictureOmar Pathare


Why does one feel happy and safe when he looks down from his flat in a building which is in a walled compound, with a big iron gate, with bright lights on the lawns and driveway and clean driveways and parking spots?

Why does one become uncomfortable when he has to walk past an old or dilapidated building? Why doesn’t anyone try to stand outside such buildings which have wild plants growing around it and trash or junk piled near it?

This is because we as humans feel safe and secure when we see clear and defined boundaries of places. Boundaries of places not only are physical boundaries which may be walls, gates or driveways of a property, they also are a part of the OVERALL IMAGE OF SECURITY which that property gives out to the public eye. A clean and properly maintained property instills confidence in its owners and cows down visitors.

A property which has faded colour on its building, broken roofs, rusted main gates and windows which are always closed gives off an impression that the owner is not interested in maintaining the property. The disinterest of the owner in keeping his property clean and functional, attracts the interest of criminals who then dare to commit crimes on the property and against its occupants.

Let us now see what we need to look at to keep the property well maintained so that strangers don’t think that the property can be trespassed upon.

1) There are clear routes for entry and exit which are visibly marked and clearly directed in and around the property. The people staying in the house should clearly be able to see who all are coming towards or going out from their house from a distance. This allows them to prepare themselves mentally whether they are prepared to receive the visitor or not, and if a threat is suspected, they can shut themselves up and call for help beforehand.

2) The approach route to the property should be so designed or located that the people coming towards the property should be visible to its occupants for the longest period of time. This gives the owners time to observe the person carefully and see if his movements or behaviour seem suspicious. This gives the owner of the property enough time to understand whether the person coming towards his house is a friend or a threat and accordingly take actions, whether to receive him or stop him.

3) The places around the property should NOT have dense foliage which gives out long and dark shadows during the day, which allows people to hide in them. The lighting around the property at night should be such that it does not allow most of the places around the house to remain in darkness. Having less shadows during the day and more lighted spaces during the night reduces a lot of potential hiding places which a criminal may use to observe your property or to enter your premises unnoticed.

4) The property is always well maintained by trimmed gardens, clean roads and paths, designated places for garbage disposal, no loitering of stray animals. Well maintained property means the owners take pride in how the place looks and see to it that any breakages are repaired immediately. Clean roads mean they are regularly travelled upon and fixed whenever needed. Fixed places for garbage disposal mean that the owners are disciplined in their way of living. Absence of strays indicate that there are no gaps in the property’s outer walls and the gates which these animals can use to slip in unnoticed.

On a parting note...

While all of this may look quite ordinary to a passer-by or even to the owner, it discourages the criminals who have a trained eye to spot such weaknesses. Keeping the image of a place proper is similar to having a good hygiene. Just as being hygienic in one’s habits prevents illness, the same way keeping a property well maintained gives out a protected image to a property. This in itself is creates an impact in the minds of outsiders that the owners are serious about their assets and gives great confidence to the occupants in the property that they can keep criminal elements out from their lives.

- Lt. Col. Omar Pathare (retd), Security Consultant & Founder - Fortify Security Consulting
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