“Is it gated and guarded?”, “Are there security patrols?”, “How many tiers of security are there?” These are some of the common questions asked by buyers during purchase of a property.
It seems that more and more property buyers are placing safety as their main criteria when looking for a new home. Why is it that people are now more concerned about security, a phenomenon which was fairly uncommon some 20-30 years ago? We believe it is mainly because of the ever increasing crime rates in our country since then.
GATED & GUARDED NEIGHBOURHOOD / PROPERTIES
Developers are coming up with more gated and guarded developments nowadays, with some condos even having a 7-tier security system, such as the Rimbun project in KL, see http://amphil.com.my/7-tier-security-system. This is in lieu to the demands of the consumer for better security.
Here are some of the safety features to look out for when buying a property:
Do they have CCTV surveillance?
How many and where at? CCTV surveillance may or may not deter crime, but if a transgression took place where there are well-placed CCTV cameras, it can help authorities identify the culprits and study the crime for future prevention.
Are the security guards well-trained?
Are they well versed in our languages? We often hear cases of security guards themselves getting robbed. Ironically, these guards who are hired to ensure our safety fail to even protect themselves. So if you are purchasing a home within a guarded residency, prior to purchasing a property try entering your chosen residency to survey whether the guards perform a thorough check or simply let you through the gates.
Is the guardhouse secured enough?
Well, as long as it is not made of plywood (papan lapis), it should be solid enough, right? But does it come equipped with useful features like a panic button? During emergency situations, a panic button can quickly alert the police allowing quick emergency response. Sadly, more often than not, we usually spot the doors of security guardhouses left wide open as if welcoming criminals in.
What are the material of the fencings/walls around the gated neighbourhood?
A regular wire fencing may be an affordable option, but they can easily be compromised. Adding barbed wires or electric fencing (requires approval) could help deter criminals more effectively, but it is best if sturdier fencings such as the below were used.
How are the designs of the fencings/walls?
The height of the fencings/walls should stand at a minimum of 6 feet in height, with 8 feet being the most ideal. Furthermore, the design of the fencings should be un-climber friendly.
Is the property well-managed?
“The Broken Window” theory is a criminological theory which literally means that if a broken window is left untaken care of, it gives an impression that no one is in around, thus inviting criminals to commit crime. Residents should ensure that the management pays attention to aspects such as cleanliness, faulty facilities, vacant units and overall maintenance of the property.
Doing the above right, the majority of property buyers would be more than willing to pay the difference in price for all the additional safety measures and features.
Criminal activities discourage potential buyers from buying a home in an area, affecting property prices in that particular neighbourhood. The long term result of such a phenomenon will result in stagnant property values.
NON-GATED & NON-GUARDED NEIGHBOURHOOD / PROPERTIES
The safest neighbourhood may not necessarily be a gated and guarded one, and vice versa. Refer to this article on the many different type of neighbourhoods and its crimes that you could encounter here - http://www.propsocial.my/topic/115/crimes-in-the-rich-man-s-neighbourhood-vs-poor-man-s-neighbourhood-posted-by-propsocial-editor.
For non-gated and guarded neighbourhoods, relationship among neighbours play an utmost important role in the fight against crime. For example, your neighbour might be able to keep an eye on your house while you are away on vacation.
Prevention is better than cure
Other than that, you may want to take note if there are any neighbourhood programmes being held in an area. Programmes like ‘Junior Youth Empowerment Programme’ can actually help to reduce crime rates. By keeping neighbourhood youths engaged in meaningful activities, it can reduce the probability of them causing social problems. The activities can comprise of ‘gotong-royong’, religious activities or friendly sport matches and etc.
Obscure neighbourhood traits like having tables and chairs outside houses actually show that residents in the neighbourhood will sit, gather, and bond; displaying excellent neighbourhood relations.
You may also want to check if there is an active Residents Association, whether there are timely neighbourhood patrols, resident meetings and other resident bonding activities. Check out more about Residents Association at http://www.propsocial.my/topic/162/community-policing-defending-our-neighbourhoods-posted-by-propsocial-editor.
Analyse and gauge the neighbourhood
When you buy a house, you are not just buying a house but also the community as a whole. It is important to be able to identify a good and safe neighbourhood beforehand, to make it worth of the price you are paying for the property.
Do you think that safety is your No.1 criteria when buying a property? And is it worth a higher price tag? Come share your opinion below!
Name: Shamir Rajadurai
Designation: Crime Safety Specialist