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Lifestyle Estates- A Growing Demand in SA But Are They Safe?

The number of families that live in lifestyle estates has rapidly increased in South Africa. Lifestyle estates have plenty of safety and lifestyle benefits that are appealing to most. Though these estates might seem like a great escape from criminal activities, there might be threats lurking within the estate as well.

The crime rates in South Africa increase with each passing year, especially in residential premises. Families have started to move away from homes with open spaces out of fear of crime to lifestyle estates where they can enjoy a sense of security. Here are most of the reasons why people choose to move to lifestyle estates.

  1. Safety and Security

    Lifestyle estates prioritize security as most have security personnel that is available 24/7, security cameras throughout the entire estate, manned entry and access points and an emergency response team. Estates also have closer-knit communities due to the fact that they have high walls like normal suburbs.
  1. Great Investment

    Estates will always be in demand and their performance is relatively stable even when there is a downturn in the property market. They also offer other recreational facilities like schools, entertainment and commercial options, the better they will perform against smaller estates.
  1. Help Keep Costs Down

    Estates are able to keep building and sale prices down which enable owners to keep their living costs low. They do not need to install their own alarm or add a fence as these are offered already, which makes it safer and helps reduce your insurance premium. Estates are also responsible for the general maintenance and running which are handled by a centralized management team.
  1. Lifestyle Elements

    Estates come with a range of lifestyle elements such as communal swimming pools, shopping or office complexes, schools, or parks. Residents have full access to all these things which are fitting for today’s busy lifestyles.

Safety Tips for Lifestyle Estates

Though lifestyle estates are popular because of the security benefits offered, there might be some flaws in some procedures that might give criminals opportunities to commit crime. The following safety tips can be followed in lifestyle estates to ensure full protection from crime.

  • You should not solely rely on the physical security measures that are in place such as access control, perimeter fencing and CCTV cameras. All these measures can easily be undermined and if they were compromised internally then it would not matter. If a criminal had to gain access to the properties within the estate, then the measures available would not be able to protect you.Ensure that all your doors and windows are always locked. Your vehicles should also be locked, even if they are in the garage and ensure that you hide your valuables so that they are not visible to passerby’s.
  • Before you hire domestic workers and gardeners, you need to do a proper background check that includes looking at the references that they have offered. Most crimes that occur in estates happen with the assistance of gardeners and domestic workers as they have information about how the estate works and they can provide this information to syndicates, criminals can formulate a plan to gain access to the estate and your home might be targeted first. You should also educate your workers on ways to keep them and your home secure when you are not around.
  • Whenever there is construction taking place in the estate, you need to remain vigilant. There has been a link with elevated crime levels whenever there are construction workers that are working on site. This is mainly because of two factors, the construction workers have access to the estate and it is due to the increase in traffic in and out of the estate, it might give criminals a chance to gain access. The body corporate should be careful about the companies that they give contracts to as the estate will be affected. As a resident, you should take the necessary precautions to ensure that your home is protected and that you remain vigilant.
  • As a resident, you have the responsibility to work with the security teams to ensure that the estate is safe. If you witness any suspicious behavior then you should report it immediately to your security company. There are some crime syndicates who will move into a home for a certain period of time in the estate with the aim of monitoring the behavior of residents and so that they can plan a house break-in in the estate before they move out. Some of the suspicious behavior to look out for includes curtains and blinds that are permanently drawn.
  • The security measures offered in your estate can only protect you when you are inside, therefore you should be alert when entering or exiting the estate. There are criminals who will target residents a few meters away from the front gate. If you notice any suspicious behavior at the gate then pause and watch from a safe distance then alert the police or your security company. If you do become a victim of hijacking then remain calm, leave the vehicle and do not try to fight them as your life is more important.

Conclusion

Lifestyle estates are perfect because of the security and lifestyle benefits offered. Though they have many security measures in place to prevent crime, they can also be bypassed by criminals. It is important that residents do their part and employ some safety measures of their own so they do not become victims of crime.

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