The primary lure of housing estates is one of safety and security. The thinking is that surely surrounding yourself with high walls and the latest technology leads to you and your family being safer than ever before. But this is a misconception. According to some of South Africa’s foremost experts on estate security, instead it leads to a false sense of safety and is often the biggest blind spot that criminals take advantage of.
To truly create a safe environment demands that several factors be in place. During a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Axis Communications, a number of trends surfaced that every estate manager should consider.
“The biggest mistake most security environments make is to adopt a knee-jerk reaction to improving security once a crime has already taken place. In contrast, the safest estates take a forward-looking approach and continually investigate new technologies worth deploying,” says Roy Alves, business development manager at Axis Communications EMEA.
Proactive estates also constantly test their procedures for blind spots by running mock scenarios. They invest in the right training for personnel to ensure procedures are followed when something does happen. Complacency is the real sin: criminals are wily and will exploit whatever gaps they discover.
Leading estates frequently invest in better technologies. For example, cameras offering features such as day/night exposure, thermal detection, high resolution, dynamic range control to counter glaring sunlight and colour feeds are not only more affordable, but they also make it far easier to identify criminals.
There is a caveat: “Don’t throw the kitchen sink at this,” says Carlo Cecchi, head of electronics and ICT at Steyn City. “Some technologies, such as sound analysis and number plate detection, have limited value in residential estates and are prohibitively expensive. The departure point for proactive security must always focus on what the estate requires and how new systems will complement its overall security strategy rather than creating an artificial sense of security.”
“Fortunately, new technologies have a role to play here. Software that analyses video feeds for suspicious behaviour is becoming more affordable. Combined with an array of cameras, such software can spot patterns, out-of-place movement, and build a picture of what should and shouldn’t be happening. Some security experts regard this as an essential part of any estate’s operations, since it helps counter the invariably lackadaisical habits that materialise when security guards are watching too many screens. An analysis system can actively alert guards about suspicious activity.”
This article, courtesy of itweb.co.za advises and enlightens us as to the loopholes we are allowing in terms of estate security, as well as where to focus our energy and attention to truly and effectively combat crime in high-density living areas.