Incredible story behind camera-covered home

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A house that looks more like a fortress than a home is causing a stir in Sydney’s suburbs. Now the incredible story has been revealed.

24/7 security feels and sounds safe, but is your home really protected with these security systems? Here are some things to consider.

The California bungalow – which is covered in wall-to-wall security cameras, high fences and a large metal gate – has sparked much discussion on social media.

The house is covered with more than twenty cameras worth a total of $80,000. They offer a view of every corner of the driveway, the nearby busy street and even the neighbors’ driveway.

There has been much speculation about the story behind the house and the reason for the high level of security. Was he hiding a state secret? Or a safe with precious gems?

The truth is it is owned by retiree Alex Saikaly and his wife Julie, who told they bought the house in 1991.

They picked it up for $160,000 and have lived there ever since. Although they love the house and the memories they shared there, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

Alex Saikaly installed the cameras himself. Photo: Tileah Dobson

The story that led to Saikaly embarking on a nearly two-decade security war began in 2005.

“I complained to the police after someone in the area started causing trouble,” he told outside his home on a cold October morning.

“He climbed over my fence, vandalized my fence with spray paint, so I called the police.”

However, he didn’t get the result he wanted.

“But you know how the police are, they said they couldn’t do anything without the evidence,” he said.

“They said, ‘We can’t help you unless you show us proof.’ So I set up two cameras and (the person he claims sterilized his fence) stopped for a while before starting again.

“Then I raised more and (the vandalism) has stopped since then.”

However, that hasn’t stopped Mr. Saikaly from adding more and more cameras and security modifications to his home over the years.

In addition to the impressive number of cameras, there are sensor-controlled lights and steel gates with electric shutters on the garage. Not wanting to incur the costs associated with hiring a security expert, all of this work was remarkably done by Mr. Saikaly himself.

A closer look at part of the front camera. Photo: Tileah Dobson

More cameras on the left side of the house. Photo: Tileah Dobson

Cameras focused on the driveway and the road. Photo: Tileah Dobson

“If I had someone do all this for me, install the cameras and put up the fence, it would have cost me about $30,000,” he said. “I did it myself and it only cost me between 10 and 15 grand.”

Mr Saikaly and his wife were interviewed by the media in 2016 and said they had spent $60,000 setting up their security.

Seven years later, the couple has spent another $20,000 on upgrades, bringing the total to half the $160,000 they paid for the house in 1991.

So if the vandalism has stopped, why does Mr Saikaly continue to invest in security?

He told it’s important to keep your equipment up to date.

“I buy the latest upgrades because all these new technologies are coming to market,” Saikaly said.

“I buy low-voltage models, so my electric bill hasn’t increased as much as you would expect. This is our home and we wanted to be safe.”

The house has more than 20 security cameras. Photo: Tileah Dobson

Mr Saikaly’s concerns about the area are not unfounded.

The latest crime statistics from the Hurstville LGA show that while crimes such as domestic violence, sexual violence and drug offenses are roughly in line with the state average, there are significant crime trends in the region.

The number of car thefts and robberies is almost double the NSW average, while burglaries and burglaries are also more common.

There was a rise in robberies in NSW in 2022, with a five per cent increase on 2021, according to the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 2022, there were 151,200 recorded victims of illegal entry into Australia with intent, with NSW alone seeing a large increase in the number of victims at ten percent.

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