How far behind are South Africans in home security compared to European homes?


Recently I got a chance to visit Sweden for 3 months and I must say there is a huge gap in the way that we secure our homes as South Africans compared to Swedish homes. The one obvious fact about Sweden is their incredibly low crime rate in comparison to South Africa. With that being said, you would expect South African homes to be fitted with the highest levels of locks or best of security locking devices whilst Swedes would worry less about the security level of their locks. To my surprise this was in fact not the case, in Sweden, and I could immediately notice that most South African homes are in fact far less secure.

Digital door locks have become very popular among Swedish homes. Being a vastly digitally connected country, with almost everyone owning a mobile phone for close to 3 decades, and children as young as 10 owning smart phones, Swedes are more comfortable with digital solutions, be it for communication or to better secure their homes.

Most Swedish homes have digital door locks installed whereas in South Africa digital door locks are still fairly new and the South African market hasn’t fully recognised the significance of them. Digital door locks offer its users the convenience of keyless entry. This means that you do not need to have keys to access your home, but instead use the keypad on the digital door lock to insert a user code, which will unlock your door. Swedes have become so comfortable with digital door locking solutions that it has become a norm for them.

For example, one of my colleagues in Sweden had just bought a new house with traditional mechanical locks. Within a few weeks of moving in, they already had a story of inconvenience to tell. His wife and him went out and left their teenage daughter at home, only to come back later and find that their daughter had left the house lockup up and had gone out with the keys and they didn’t have their keys with them. This meant they were completely locked out of their home, and had to in fact wait for their daughter to return before they could gain access to their own home. Now this may sound normal to South Africans but Swedes have become so used to keyless entry that my colleague had to share the story with us, to which everyone’s response was laughter followed by telling him to ensure installing a digital door lock as his number one priority.

For some Swedish houses that don’t have digital door locks, the houses or apartments are fitted with electro-mechanical locks. Like the apartment I was staying at, the front entrance of the entire building had an electronic digital lock, which required a pin to access. This was to control access of who entered the building. Although the front door of my apartment was fitted with a mechanical cylinder lock, it was evident that it was a high quality security cylinder lock which offered a superior level of security aimed to secure front entrances. This means that whether mechanical or digital, high security is still a priority in Swedish homes. On the other hand, though some South African homes make use of cylinder locks, most are still using lever locks which vary in levels of security. Also most South Africans have no idea to the extent to which they’re protected with their lever locks.

Also read: Are you aware of your locks’ level of security?

Some of the best secured homes in South Africa are those in gated communities or estates, where access is controlled at the gates. But this shouldn’t be the only form of security homeowners rely on. Making your home secure, especially on the front and back door entrances should be a priority. In reality, only a small percentage of South Africans live in gated communities, leaving most with vulnerable security. Most South African homes rely on security gates also known as burglar guards which are installed on their front door entrances. These gates still need to be fitted with proper high security locks which are intended for external applications.

ASSA ABLOY offers a wide range of residential mechanical and digital door locking solutions which ensures your house is protected all round. To find out more, please contact ASSA ABLOY on 011 761 5000 or email