Letter to the editor

October 2018 Associations, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

We refer to an article published in your August 2018 edition, namely “The alarming disadvantages of home security systems”, written by Meraj Hoda, vice president of Ring Inc.

The content of this article begs the question as to whether your editorial team actually read the submitted articles prior to publication and understand the implications of supporting such statements in a publication such as yours.

As this is clearly the case, allow me to explain what this article implies.

The writer has in a single article, discredited the entire worldwide multi-billion Rand highly technological intruder alarm industry as outdated, ineffective and inefficient, to quote just a few of his choice of words. He has also discounted the need for armed response.

All of this in a weak and desperate attempt to market a ‘gimmick’, which, in a professional industry such as ours, would be referred to as a ‘DIY supermarket’ product.

This product is the “Video Doorbell”, which Mr Hoda claims is the answer to crime in South Africa and a suitable replacement to sophisticated intruder alarm systems.

If Mr Hoda had taken the time to visit and research the South African residential security market, he might have noticed that we do not have ‘doorbells’ due to the fact that our high walls and electric fencing do not allow anyone to get to the front door.

Mr Hoda naïvely suggests that criminals will often knock on the door or ring the doorbell before attempting to break in. Unlike the UK or the US, South Africa has a unique crime footprint which is a far cry from our overseas counterparts. Our criminals do not politely ring the doorbell before they break in.

They break the door down!

In fact, this ‘doorbell’ is more likely to be stolen.

We challenge Mr Hoda to disarm a correctly installed ‘professional’ intruder alarm system, which as claimed in his article, “burglars have learned how to disarm them”.

In conclusion, we consider this article to be misleading to the public, negligent, unprofessional and totally without merit or proper research. If anything, this ‘false security’ will put the lives of the public in danger.

As an association and in the interests of the public and professional security, we request that you publish this response and retract the article in its current form.

South African Intruder Detection Services Association (SAIDSA).

Editor’s response

For any readers not familiar with the article, it can be found at www.securitysa.com/60672n

In response to the SAIDSA comments, there are some aspects I would like to highlight.

In the first instance, SAIDSA is 100% correct, a doorbell, even a video doorbell, would provide limited security and only in a fraction of the intrusion cases we face in South Africa. As a South African and the editor of a security publication I am only too aware of the challenges we face and would never suggest this is all you require for security; if that is the impression the article leaves then my editing job was poorly done for which I apologise.

I have met Mr Hoda on one of his trips to South Africa and can attest to his knowledge of the rampant crime situation in the country.

The size of the security industry in South Africa is proof of its necessity as well as its general effectiveness. Nobody is claiming alarm systems installed by SAIDSA members are inferior, but we should also remember that not every installer is a member and the quality of the work and products used may not always live up to the standards SAIDSA promotes.

We also have an enormous number of people in this country that can’t afford to install an alarm and pay for an armed response service. For these people a ‘DIY supermarket product’ is the best they can do. Furthermore, Ring offers a range of products that can all be integrated into a security solution.

Neither Hi-Tech Security Solutions nor Mr Hoda suggest people do away with their alarms and intrusion detection, however there are many places where the Ring products can be used successfully, such as residential estates, apartments and even standalone houses. With visual verification becoming more popular, this is one product that can assist in verifying an alarm and reducing false alarm callouts.

If Hi-Tech Security Solutions created the impression that this one product does away with the need for alarms and intrusion prevention, as well as security services, we apologise as that is definitely not the case.

Ring will respond in the next issue.

Andrew Seldon.


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