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Residential Security Basics: Safety in your Home in Indonesia

These general guidelines are aimed at providing a safe environment for you and your family. You should check them regularly and take action at your residence where necessary. The guidelines may or may not apply to you, depending on whether you are living in a house or an apartment. If you are living in an apartment, some of the guidelines may not apply.

If you are looking for a residence, you should use these guidelines to assess the properties, which are being offered. As these guidelines are very generic in content, you might want to consider a professional Residential Security Review be undertaken. This would include consideration of additional factors including the locale of the residence and domestic staff security awareness training.

External Lights

  • The exterior of the residence should be well lit at night, especially where there is heavy vegetation. Preferably external lights should be capable of being turned on from inside the house. There should also be ample lumination over the entrance gate.

Fences and Gates

  • These should provide privacy for the residence or apartment block and present a barrier to intrusion and should be well maintained at all times. Gates should be locked at night by the security guard, with a good quality lock or padlock.
  • The guard should be able to identify a visitor before unlocking the gate to let them in.


  • Careful consideration should be given to the placement of plants and shrubs.
  • Vegetation should be positioned in such a manner that no hiding place is afforded to unauthorized persons that may have entered the grounds illegally.
  • All vegetation should be kept neatly pruned in order to reduce potential for use in scaling walls or providing cover to intruders.
  • Garden tools, ladders or any other objects that could be used to scale the perimeter or gain entry to the residence proper should be secured at all times.


  • The guard should be able to identify a visitor before unlocking the gate to let them in.
  • Fit good quality locks on all doors and windows to the house or apartment.
  • Fit a strong door restraint fitted and a quality security viewer (spyhole), so that you can check who is there before finally opening the door.
  • If the lock is locked from the inside with a key, as is the case with many apartments in Jakarta, the key should be placed somewhere close to the door so you can escape in the event of a fire. All members of the family and visitors staying with you will need to know where the key is.

Receiving Visitors

  • You should be able to identify any visitor before opening the door or allowing them to come in. The light in the entrance or corridor or stairs should be good enough for you to see who is there at night through the security viewer.
  • If you are not expecting a caller, particularly a tradesman, do not allow them to enter. Speak to them through the locked door. Suggest they go away and have their manager give you a telephone call. Even if the caller is a Policeman or a person in uniform, you should telephone the station or reception in the building to check whether he should be calling on you.
  • If you arrive at your residence and the door is unlocked or open and any domestic help is absent, do not enter by yourself. Contact a building security guard, neighbour or colleague to come to the residence before you enter.


  • If people can see inside, the curtains on the windows should be opaque, even if you are on an upper floor of an apartment block. You should draw those curtains when it becomes dark. The windows should also be fitted with sheer curtains so that people cannot look in during daylight hours.
  • In high burglary risk areas, particularly in houses, windows should be fitted with steel grilles. However, if the (upper floor) window of a house or apartment is an escape route in a fire, the grille should be able to be unlocked from inside. Once again, a key will need to be secreted close to the grille.
  • Any sliding concertina steel grilles should also be closed and locked after hours. If they are part of an escape route, there should be a key nearby.


  • If not already fitted, fit a lock to the bedroom door, so it can be locked to prevent free access from the outside. This provides a safe haven within the residence.
  • There should be a telephone extension in the bedroom. It should have emergency numbers coded in to the speed dialing function.
  • The cellular phone should also be taken, when retiring, into the bedroom to be charged.
  • Ladies should consider obtaining a battery powered hand-held security warning device which emits a high pitched scream when activated. It should only be used if you or other members of the family are being physically attacked. This should be in your handbag during the day and in the bedroom at night. You should arrange with neighbors to respond to this loud alarm by calling the Police and another staff colleague.


  • A telephone is recommended for the bedroom. There should also be a telephone in the living area.
  • A list of emergency numbers should be beside each telephone. This should include emergency telephone instructions for any domestic help, in Indonesian. A pen and paper should always be available beside the phones and in the vehicle.
  • If your knowledge of Indonesian is poor, you should also have some simple emergency phrases in Indonesian written down on a pad beside the telephone, in case you have to call the hospital, Police or fire service or contractors. You should also have a small flashlight there in case the power has been interrupted.
  • Members of the family should not give details of the location and movements of the members of the household over the phone. This should be impressed on any domestic help also.
  • Suspicious calls should be reported to you and details passed to the Company Manager or one of his colleagues.

Electronic Security Systems

  • If your area becomes prone to burglary or you are frequently absent from the residence, you may consider an electronic intrusion detection and duress system. This is usually connected to a security monitoring service. It is more likely to be used in a house in Jakarta, rather than an apartment where there is a guard force that controls the flow of visitors to the apartment floor levels.
  • If required, the features you should consider are:
    - Use motion detector devices in rooms where an intruder could gain access.
    - A ‘duress button" in the kitchen, main bedroom and near the front door.
    - A code pad near the front door to activate and deactivate the system when you leave and arrive home.
    - Use a reputable firm and products with a good reputation. It should be reliable and have good service support.
    - The system should have a back up battery, tamper and power loss alarms.
  • You should specify and understand the response arrangements by the monitoring service.
  • Your family and visitors should understand how the duress buttons work and what the response will be when they are pressed.

Fire Prevention and Detection

This is especially important, due to the fact that the fire departments in Jakarta are severely hampered by traffic, inadequate equipment and the fact that 60% of the 1,424 fire hydrants in the capital city are not functional (2011 report).

  • Ensure that dangerous fuels and combustibles are isolated and correctly stored.
  • Educate the staff regarding the storage requirements of such materials.
  • Battery-operated smoke detectors should be fitted in the house. The battery in each should be checked regularly (replace every six months).
  • Acquire three multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguishers. One of these should be positioned prominently upstairs, one in the kitchen and one in the garage.
  • Acquire a fire blanket for the kitchen to assist in smothering stove fires.
  • Acquire a good quality medical kit for the residence and some basic first aid training.
  • Ensure that grounds and gardens are kept free of rubbish and combustibles.

Our thanks to Hill & Associates for contributing this informative article.

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Last updated April 19, 2014