Cameras drastically reduce fruit theft

CCTV Handbook 2021 Surveillance

Set near the foothills of the stark and breath-taking Simonsberg Mountains in the Simondium area of the Western Cape, the Van der Merwe family-owned Marlenique Estate is home to thriving fruit orchards, residential homes and wedding venues. The estate, which spans an area of 190 hectares and produces export-quality fruit, was becoming increasingly prone to both theft and vandalism.



Johan Opperman, account manager at Elvey Group company Pentagon, explains that because of the sheer size of the estate, the employment of a large number of requisite guards to defend the property would have not been financially viable.

Energize Technology Africa was asked to design and install a security solution that automates all aspects of safeguarding the premises and which relies on armed response only in the event of an incident.

As distributors of Axis surveillance technology, Pentagon worked closely with Axis and the Energize team to develop a solution that would address the estate’s needs in a cost-effective and efficient manner. “We partnered with Pentagon to supply a number of Axis surveillance solutions that would provide extensive coverage of the estate,” says Mike Pritchard, co-owner of Energize.

Thermal and visual cameras

A proactive electronic solution, the AXIS Perimeter Defender included the placement of a number of thermal cameras on the perimeter of the estate. Using the analytics on the Perimeter Defender, the cameras were linked to large floodlights which are activated when unwarranted motion is detected. This not only provides early warning of intrusion, but furthermore acts as a deterrent to would-be intruders.

Concurrently, the AXIS C3003-E network horn speaker emits a verbal pre-recorded message when the perimeter is breached and a notification is sent directly to the armed response company. Finally, the AXIS Q6125-LE PTZ cameras track humans and vehicles only on the perimeter and provide visual verification of security breaches. “The specific combination of Axis cameras ensures that false alarms are minimised, while actual events are prioritised,” says Opperman.

In addition, around the houses, pump houses, offices and function venues, a combination of Axis bullet cameras and AXIS M3105-LVE fixed dome cameras were installed to provide enhanced security. They are used primarily for visual overviews but are also equipped with analytics for human detection. I/O modules have been installed and connected with radio receivers and four-button remotes for the residents.

The analytics on the cameras can be armed or disarmed by the residents, using the remotes, to allow freedom of movement in the common areas. The red button on the remote has been programmed for use as a panic button and when it is pressed, it activates all 20 horn speakers.

Pritchard says that the working relationship with Pentagon was characterised by high levels of professionalism, teamwork and excellent communication. “The supply of the equipment and technical backup was seamless, allowing us to expedite the installation quickly and without issues.”

He adds that the client is thrilled with the results the system has reaped. “The yield of crops, specifically near the road, has almost doubled due to the elimination of theft. The increased security also allowed the estate to install a powerful solar farm that previously would have been vandalised and subjected to theft. What started as a simple access control project has become an extensive anti-theft project which is saving the owner substantial amounts of money. The return on investment has been immense and has led to us being awarded the contract to commence work on four other farms owned by the Van der Merwe family.”

“We are extremely satisfied with the feedback that we have received from Energize on the efficacy of the solution. We have secured sufficient stockholding of the Axis technology required for the rollout of the next phases of the Van der Merwe farm estate projects and look forward to achieving similarly positive results for the farm owners,” says Opperman.


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