It is a common belief in large sections of South African society that living in residential estates or closed communities greatly enhances security levels and contributes to a more open and free lifestyle. Due to consistently high levels of crime and attacks on residential properties, people have gradually bought into communal living and quite understandably believe that the ‘safety in numbers’ approach is the best way forward.
While there is a valid argument for this approach, one needs to bear in mind that as security barriers are introduced, the ability of criminal elements to overcome these is also evolving. Most reputable security companies offer a multi-level solution focused on back up and redundancy based systems. This takes various forms and includes the human element as well as a number of technology-based layers.
Regardless of the type of on-site security resources such as guards, vehicles and CCTV elements, one of the critical denominators is always communication. This includes the on-site point-to-point aspects as well as the links to off-site control rooms, monitoring centres and vehicle assets.
An important part of the security solution is to be able to offer honest and consistent assessments to the providers and customers regarding which types of products and which service providers should be used. A number of consultants tend to push either a single range of their own products or products closely related to theirs. We at RDC have always held the belief that a wide range of different manufacturers and products is in the best interest of the clients as this spreads the risk and the customer is not trapped or tied in too tightly to one or two providers.
If one accepts that the basics of estate security are in place, walls, gates etc., the next step is to identify the critical elements that are needed and how these will form an integrated turnkey solution. These can be broken up as follows:
1. Human resource deployment – guards.
2. Access control – gates, booms, turnstiles.
3. Electronic visual monitoring – CCTV.
4. Communication centres – control rooms.
5. Incident management – armed response units.
The key to providing a manageable and trustworthy solution lies in being able to communicate quickly and reliably with the various components listed above. Current technology platforms are widely used by manufacturers and herein lies one of the challenges. The question is “which type of platform do we use?” The answer is not quite as easily reached when one considers the strengths and weaknesses inherent in electronic solutions. Once again we are directed back to the RDC philosophy of using a multi-layered approach to support the basic security components and provide redundancy. RDC offers VHF radio, GPRS and SMS communication options.
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