How To with security (stand-alone homes)
The goal of this How To page is to bring the expatriate community general security recommendations when living in stand-alone houses.
First of all, do see our page on the first security measure to take when arriving in Ghana.
For security advice when using taxis or in a car, please refer to the "How To with security measures (with taxis or in a car)" page.
For security alerts and advisories, please refer to the "Security alerts and advisories" page.
For Police and Fire Service numbers in Accra, see here. The number for Kumasi Fire Service is 0505 001 415.
Your inputs are highly welcomed. Do not hesitate to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Protecting your home with a good wall, barbed wires (possibly electrified), installing motion-sensored lights, CCTV (remote or not) and having guard dogs is good but ensuring that your staff and security guards may not become a potential threat is equally important. Staff know your schedule and plans and can sometimes be the ones to invite criminals into your home.
Furthermore, there has been instances where robbers:
- monitor your movements,
- throw poisoned food over the walls to kill dogs,
- hold security guards, who usually are unarmed, at gun point to knock at your door or window to lure residents outside,
- break your water pipes at night to get you out to check,
- trip your electric fences to jump over walls safely.
Should you live in a semi-local environment, it is also advised to develop and maintain cordial relations with neighborhood men. Without inviting them in, talking with them occasionally will entice them to spread the news that you are a good person and eventually will make them assist you in case of emergency.
Due to improved residential security (electric fencing, CCTV, intruder alarms, rapid response teams, panic buttons, etc.), house break-in’s have reduced in some parts of Accra and Tema. However to circumvent this, some criminals attempt to target expatriates when entering or leaving their properties.
There are several methods used for this type of crime. Here are the two most common:
Waiting outside of the gates for the occupants to return
There has been known recent cases (three in November 2012 and one in February 2013) where expats have been robbed at the gates to their accommodation (see details here).
In order to protect against this, it is advised to:
- Alert guards/ staff via mobile phone prior to arrival so they can check the outside of the property is safe and alert you if not. This is particularly important if returning home in the early hours of the morning
- Alert guards/ staff via mobile phone prior to arrival so they can prepare to open gate quickly on your return
- Be extra vigilant for anyone loitering outside your property. If needs be drive past the property once to check it is safe before entering
- Have a wireless panic button fitted inside vehicle linked to an audible siren or a Security response team
- Have your vehicle fitted with vehicle tracking to enable tracking and recovery of vehicle
- Change your routine and try not to use the same arrival and departure times for your residence if possible.
Attempts to gain entry using deception
In some cases thieves/ robbers have tried to gain entry to properties by convincing guards/ staff to open gates while posing as a visitor or contractor.
For example, 3 or 4 men may visit your home claiming they are from water company, to install shower caps, to save water. Or they will claim they are from the Electricity company to change energy-saving electric bulbs for free as part of government lay down program. They have been spotted in many areas. Do NOT let them in. They are robbers, sometimes robbing people at gun-point. Make sure doors are locked at all times and do not open door to strangers.
In order to protect against this, it is advised to:
- have a viewing window/ slot fitted at the gate in order for guards/ staff to see whom is outside before opening the gate
- have a small viewing window fitted at the guard house to enable viewing of the outside area near the gate. Make sure this window is small enough so that a person cannot use it to gain entry or fitted with reinforced bars on the inside
- install motion sensor lighting at the gate
- install a video or audio intercom outside of the gate linked to the house or guard hut
- provide written instructions to your guard/ staff not to open the gate unless they have prior knowledge of a visitor coming to the property
- a simple CCTV system with a camera viewing the outside of the gate can provide visual verification as to whom is outside and act as a deterrent to unwanted intruders. Make sure any camera installed outdoors are anti-vandal and have Infra-Red in order to see in low lighting.
As a general rule, do not antagonize robbers: give them what they want so you do not get hurt. Many of them are on drugs, therefore fearless, aggressive and determined.
Some information on this page have been contributed by SALADIN SECURITY
Learn more about Saladin Security here. Contact Ghana@saladin-security.com
(Please note that Saladin Security does not provide security services for single residences)