Complexes and estates in South Africa hit by crime wave – and now some are using drones

The Fidelity Services Group says it has seen an increasing number of security incidents in secure complexes and estates across South Africa over the last 12 months, which has prompted many properties to review their security options.

The group said these incidents are particularly problematic as living in an estate or a complex can give residents the false impression that security is not a concern – despite the country’s high crime rate.

Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity Services Group, said that even in a secured complex, there is always a risk of burglaries and theft from inside and outside the complex and this is why many estates are now combining guarding options and electrified barriers with more high tech solutions like drones.

“We believe drones and the deployment of a mobile drone team, not only act as a highly effective visible deterrent to criminals, but also assist to immediately track down and locate criminal elements once an outer perimeter on an estate has been breached, or in any scenario where suspects are at large on a security estate.”

She said the deployment of drones is ideally suited to security estates and will increase proactive crime prevention and the ability to plan crime prevention operations. It will also facilitate a more rapid response to live criminal incidents and scenes.

“These high tech innovations definitely represent the future face of security, but as stressed earlier, they work best if they are combined with an integrated security offering.”

Hattingh said complexes often become vulnerable when they are not fully let or where construction workers are still present.

“If you are in a complex like this it is advisable to try and make sure you are part of the security contingency planning, conducting regular security drills and monitoring of security systems.

“We highly recommend that residents have alarms and other security measures in place in their individual units. It is not uncommon to hear of cases where criminals have moved into complexes posing as residents and then break into houses before moving out with their stolen goods,” she said.

She added that residents should keep the following security tips in mind:

  • Access control is a key component of the security solution. Having a guard that mans the gate and is also expected to patrol is an issue.

“The entrance should be manned at all times, even if residents have their own access cards. The guard also needs to be able to alert a reaction company if security is under threat or assistance is needed. This is where drone patrolling links in well,” she said.

  • The security systems can be nullified when there is little or no provision for the safety of guards on duty.

“An increasing criminal modus operandi is to observe the guard and then hold him at gunpoint allowing the criminals to enter the complex at leisure. Guardroom windows are mostly never bulletproof or even tinted to ensure that the movement of the guard cannot be monitored from outside the complex.”

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