Security is of paramount importance to any South African household and the more you know, the more secure you'll be.

Chubb Security South Africa proposes that homeowners keep the following 10 simple but crucial security tips in mind as they start the New Year.

1. Seek qualified advice from a security consultant who will carry out a risk assessment and recommend an alarm system specifically suited to your property.

2. Make sure that your chosen security provider is a registered member of the South African Intruder Detection Service Associations (SAIDSA) as this is a guarantee that any work carried out by them and equipment installed meets the appropriate industry standards.

3. Test your alarm at least once a month and request the services of a technician immediately if your alarm is faulty. It is important to remember to inform your security provider that you are putting your system into the "Test" mode.

4. Where possible, install exterior lighting that can be controlled remotely from inside the house. It is also worth considering demand lighting which is activated by a motion detector.

5. Try to reduce foliage and bushes in the vicinity of your driveway as these act as good hiding places for would-be criminals.

6. Increase visibility – Do you have any high walls or tall hedges obscuring your view of the property? Try to remove these if possible.

7. Automatic gates are preferable as you don't have to leave the safety of your vehicle in order to access your premises.

8. Create a "safe area" in your home by fitting a wrought iron gate or an expanding grille gate into which the family can retreat in an emergency.

9. Install a safe to store valuable items and copies of keys. Wall safes are usually not fireproof and therefore not suitable for cash or documents.

10. Add an emergency number to the speed-dial function on your phone.