Building Construction, Renovation, Maintenance & Advice

Home Security Measures

Security in the the internet

Security seems to be a big issue these days, in many ways it has taken over our lives but we seem to be less secure than ever. Big Brother is everywhere. Some people say “don’t worry about it, if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear.” I'll bet people were saying that to jews in Germany back in 1937?

Looking for terrorists is always the excuse but when private organisations are gathering very detailed information about us without our permission or knowledge we should start to be just a little concerned.

People can be just a bit naive can’t they? Young girls opening their hearts on social media networks not realising that when they go for that corporate job interview in ten years time they might find themselves being asked “did you get over your pubescent crush on Cyril Bloodclot with his tight buttocks, oh and how did the sex change operation go?”

It can get a lot more serious. Insurance companies looking for any excuse to not pay out a claim may like a bit of information taken out of context. Or what if the wrong person were to find the local priest had done a web search for “uplift bras for the larger male” or “herbal treatments for genital warts.” No wonder people are becoming far more wary about sharing their personal information.

The fact is that our digital devices contain our lives these days and are being accessed and harvested by supposedly high integrity organisations that, in turn, know that our personal information is worth money and, wittingly or unwittingly, pass it on to god knows who in the name of the almighty dollar.

“I say, how many people have top security clearance in this country?”
“Don’t worry, your personal information is safe with us.”
“Come on how many?”
“Oh only a few.”
“A few? How many is a few?
“I can’t tell you, it’s secret.”
“Are they trustworthy?”
“Oh yes every one of the 1.6 million has been fully screened. Whoops, I shouldn't have said that should I?”
“That's a lot of highly trustworthy people to keep track of, Edward Snowden wouldn't be one of them perchance?”

Let us look at security a bit closer to home (although you can’t get closer than your wife’s underwear size stored in your mobile phone now can you?)

An Increasing crime rate in Bali

The crime rate in Bali is rapidly on the increase both in terms of the numbers and seriousness of crimes that are occurring. This peaceful island is starting to earn a reputation as a place where you may be beaten, robbed, raped or even murdered. With a police force facing increasing workloads we must do what we can to look after ourselves.

I recently met an old friend who told me a worrying story. His house has recently been burgled. He and his wife went out for only 20 minutes during the day and when they got back the house had been broken into and all sorts of things had been taken.

This was a strange coincidence. I was talking to another friend only the day before who had told me that his house had also been broken into but he has a dog and the intruders left empty handed. He went on to tell me that he fared better then the other six or so houses in his gang all of which had been broken into within a fews days of each other.

The story got more interesting. A couple of days before the break in 2 women came to the door saying they were from the government and were going from house to house checking dogs and wanted to look inside the house. Thinking my friend didn’t understand Indonesian they started asking the pembantu how many people lived in the house and who they were. One had a map of the area and was making notes on it which was hastily put away when she realised she was being observed. My friend asked for identification which they couldn’t provide and he told them to leave.

Over the next few days all the houses in the street were robbed and someone reported seeing ten men with bulging backpacks leaving the area on five motorcycles.

My friend’s house was spared. He and his wife were only away for 30 minutes so someone must have been watching the house.They broke into the garden gate using some pretty heavy equipment to tear out the lock and bolt from the outside but then came across his rather large dog and, not wanting to feel the wrath of the friendly Fido’s welcoming tongue, they left.

He called the local guardians of law and order and a lone policeman arrived. He hadn’t been there long before he got a phone call to tell him yet another 3 houses in nearby streets had been broken into. He dashed off and didn’t return.

The similarity between the two stories was remarkable. My first friend also recalled a woman knocking on the door and asking for work as a pembantu, she particularly wanted to come inside the house but they didn’t let her in. She was persistent and came back a couple of days later to ask again and this time was allowed into the house. She left and wasn’t seen again. Shortly afterwards the robbery took place.

Once again a loan policeman in plain clothes arrived. He took details and walked around taking photographs on an old battered mobile phone. In spite of large dirty handmarks everywhere he took no fingerprints. Nothing has been heard since. Clearly the local police are struggling to cope.

Opprtunists or organised crime?

These are not the usual sort of robberies we see carried out by opportunists trying to raise a bit of money to get home and buy some gifts for the family (sadly a regular occurrence in the weeks leading up to Idul Fitri). No, this is something very different. A large, highly organised gang who have worked out a clever strategy based on intelligence, planning and speed of execution. They do their homework about their targets. They strike in the middle of the day when people go out. They know what they want and take anything saleable, money jewellery, laptops, mobile phones, ipads, even coffee machines, kettles and toasters. Items that can be easily carried.

The number of robberies being committed suggests that they are by now very experienced and as a result are confident and bold.

Measures you can take to secure your home

These are serious criminals, how would your security arrangements fare?
Let us consider the security steps you can take and how effective they would be against this gang:

  • Locks on the doors. Ordinary locks are not effective against these people who simple destroy the door to get in and out quickly.
  • Strengthened doors. Anything to slow them down will probably help, they obviously want to move quickly.
  • Barbed wire along the walls. Not effective these people come in through the front door to have easy access and easy escape.
  • Security system. Not usually switched on during the day.
  • Bars on windows. Probably a deterrent but what about the doors?
  • Motion sensor lighting. Not effective, they strike in the day.
  • Motion sensor sirens. Probably effective although the odd passing cat might very quickly make the neighbours as happy as a sumo wrestler in a tumble drier.
  • CCTV monitoring will probably put some money into someone’s pocket but might not be very effective when you try to find individuals in one of the most populated countries on the planet.
  • Information sharing by neighbours within the area. Increased levels of awareness and surveillance in the local community can be very effective particularly in the important goal of catching these people.
  • Making sure that people are seen to be around the house at all times. Probably effective.
  • A Large dog. As shown in this case the one thing that is very effective. Dogs are very sensitive to strangers or anything that is “not right” but you need to watch out for the burglar’s trick of throwing poison over the wall. Find one with a nice deep bark.

Other strategies you might or might not consider:

  • Don’t live in a large ostentatious house. Particularly not hidden away in a private gang.
  • Live in a local Balinese community and get to know the people around you.
  • Don’t keep things of value in the house.
  • Educate everyone in the house, particularly the pembantu, to not let people into the house and report to you any strangers that come knocking on the door.
  • Do not let anyone in without identifying exactly who they are.
  • Keep your valuables in a safe and make sure it is bolted to the building. If possible hide the safe. (A safe is probably very effective but may well attract a more serious attack if they know it is there).

Security is as much a deterrent as an effective barrier

At the end of the day security is never foolproof and is mostly based on deterrent and bluff. Think about the security guards at local hotels walking around your car with a mirror on a stick looking for anything with the word “bom” written on it while not bothering to check that large box sitting on the backseat with the word dynamite in large friendly letters written on the side. Just having people around that are taking notice of who is coming in and going out is a serious deterrent. Perhaps we can follow the same approach. Dummy CCTV cameras strategical placed are a recognised strategy, a sign on the gate “Beware of the crocodile, Enter at your own risk” would not instill confidence while a notice with the words “Ebola Virus, Keep Out” is sure to get a response.

As a postscript a couple of days after the robberies in his street my friend was approached by a man wanting to sell him household appliances. When asked if they were still in their boxes he said they weren’t, when he realised my friend was trying to read his number plate he jumped on his bike and left faster than a banker chasing his bonus.

Copyright © Phil Wilson 2013
This article or any part of it cannot be copied or reproduced without permission from the copyright owner.

17 July 2017 Copyright © Mr Fixit,
Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai, Gg Penyu No 1, Sanur, Bali 80228, Indonesia
Telephone: +62-361-288-789, Fax:+62-361-284-180