Quick Guide: Home Security Options to Consider

Even though your flat already comes with two mechanical locks—one on your door, and another on your metal gate—there are always ways to improve security.

Updated on June 06, 2017 10:06 am

Vince Wong

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Singapore is one of the world’s safest cities, and the fact that many HDB residents still leave their doors open and unattended for long hours is testament to how safe we feel. However, just as we are constantly reminded, low crime does not mean no crime. Whether it’s increased security you are after, or just a gadget itch you feel like scratching, here are some security options that might make for worthy investments.

Digital door locks

The ease with which normal mechanical HDB locks can be picked may surprise you, but fret not, the digital locksmiths of the world have you covered. Thanks to the invention of better digital locks, you might even have noticed that there has been an increasing number of HDB home gates which have been retrofitted with these smart locks.

Digital locks may utilise any combination of these technologies: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which requires physical tokens or cards to unlock; Personal Identification Number (PIN) systems, which require a number combination to unlock, so anyone with the right combination may enter. This is handy when you need to let a neighbour in an emergency. Biometric authentication uses fingerprint scanners to authorise entry, and is the most secure.

Some popular lock brands have models which are designed as drop-in-replacements for traditional HDB metal gate mechanical locks; others come with the option of augmenting the existing locks for an extra layer of security.

When you are shopping for a digital lock system, look out for one that is compatible with your existing metal gate. Some of the pricier systems will have more memory for PIN numbers and fingerprints, so that more members of your family can have access to your flat. You will also want to find out how easily you can unlock–just in case the batteries run out and you end up being stuck outside your home.

Some companies also offer completely new gates to go with your new locks, and security packages which allow the unlocking of both metal gate and wooden door at the same time, for even greater convenience.

Right: Dessman S710 Bronze Digital Lock (Fingerprint + Pin + Key), $1,195, available at MyDigitalLock

Left: Yale YDM 3109 Digital Lock (RFID/Card), $799, available at MyDigitalLock

Wireless alarm systems

The digital lock systems you purchase will likely not come with an alarm system but if you want to deter intruders further still, you can install alarm systems which can be triggered by motion detectors, opened doors or windows. These systems are already widely in use commercially, and come with the option for you to set up security zones which can be armed or disarmed remotely.

If you are abroad, there are also alarm systems which can send notifications to you wherever you are, by text to your phone.

Yale Wireless Alarm, $1,100, MyDigitalLock

CCTV system

Sales of CCTV systems (like the Sony CMOS 1000TVL CCTV with recorder, $699, MyDigitalLock) to private home owners have soared in recent years, due to reduced costs and increased availability of such systems. Unfortunately, it is currently not legal to install a CCTV system outside a HDB home. However, special permission to do so can be sought from HDB, if you face a security or harassment threat. Even then, only one camera can be installed and it can only be used for the surveillance of the area immediately outside your flat. The approval, however, is only temporary–up to a period of six months or until the issue has been resolved, whichever is earlier.

Installation of these systems require real expertise to ensure they perform perfectly, so you’ll need to ensure that a reputed company is doing the job. Other things you’ll need to take note of are the warranty of the locks, workmanship, and maintenance charges.

How else do you keep your house secure? Send your stories and suggestions to hello@cromly.com.

Cover photo courtesy of Free Images

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