Cyprus is considered a safe country, perhaps the safest country in the EU. The importance placed on security, however, when it comes to the real estate market has been rising. More security increases the value of a property.
According to Interpol, Cyprus only has 5 per cent of the crime in the UK, 6 per cent compared to Germany and 14 per cent to Spain. Despite this, crime in Cyprus is on the rise, as it is everywhere, and this has started to worry homeowners.
This issue is particularly significant when it comes to holiday homes that remain vacant for a considerable period of time.
In the area of Famagusta where there are many empty holiday homes for months, the level of theft is remarkable. Stolen items consist all sorts of things, including cheap objects, such entrance mats, garden lamps and even ceramic pots. Of course, there are more ‘profitable’ thefts such as kitchen appliances, televisions and air conditioner compressors.
The criminality of an area directly affects the prices of real estate, for example in Kato Pafos and the centre in Germasogia and parts of Ayia Napa prices are about 50 per cent lower than similar units in nearby, safer areas.
Even in areas with periodic criminal behaviour, like near Tsirion stadium in Limassol with the well-known hooliganism at football games, market interest is lower than in corresponding areas elsewhere. Another more recent phenomenon is crime from refugee settlements.
The elderly in particular feel very insecure and vulnerable and our police response is not what it should be.
Here are some recommendations of basic measures you can take to protect your property:
- Install a security system. The cost is around €1,000 for a house and €600 for an apartment, with a direct connection to the security company and set up on your phone.
- Double glazing, which is also good for insulation, makes it more difficult for would-be thieves to break in. Security locks on windows are also important. Costs for a residence would come to around €2,000. Some people are even using bulletproof glass as this is very hard to break.
- Shutters on windows and external doors, at least on the ground floor, also make entry more difficult. They cost around €3,500.
- The door of your main entrance should be a security door. There are imported doors available in various finishes with metal frames and special locks, costing around €500.
- In the case of residences with a gardens or complexes with a private road, electric gates could be installed for around €2,200.
- Lights on sensors that turn on at night in response to movement are worth installing, despite their power consumption and that they can be annoying when cats pass and so on. Their cost is around €500. According to the police, the recommendation is to light dark corners.
- Cameras are also in increasing demand, and there are also fake ones to deter crime.
- You also need to use a good insurance company and be covered both for theft and malicious damage. Terms should be carefully reviewed, especially regarding periods when the home is unoccupied as there can be a special condition where a residence is considered uninsured if it is not inhabited for a continuous period of more than three months.
So, the cost of increasing security is around €5,000-€10,000 for a residence depending on what you adopt and to what extent.