There has been an exponential growth in residential estates in recent years. These range from estates of around 40 units to the big developments of 3000 to 4000 units.
These estates all have one thing in common: they satisfy the needs of those who are seeking an aesthetically pleasing and secure lifestyle.
Typically, lifestyle estates have generous common ground with children's playgrounds and recreational facilities such as tennis courts or jogging trails. Some have lakes or look onto flowing rivers or dams. There are golf estates and equestrian estates, game conservation estates and ecological estates.
Owners who pay for pleasing aesthetics of this scale, also demand a professional security service. Marcel Pienaar, who looks after the security needs of ADT's lifestyle estates' clients nationally, says that today a professional security service must take note of, and counter, the growing sophistication of criminals.
Criminals are becoming better informed and use their own reconnaissance to find new ways of gaining access to estates. There are more and more cases of criminals threatening guards with firearms and using violence, tailing people from shopping malls and targeting units that they have gained information about from their informers.
As part of his role, Pienaar does a complete security evaluation for prospective clients. "Each estate is unique and ADT offers a security service that is tailored to blend seamlessly into the culture and lifestyle of the particular estate," he says. "ADT aims to provide a focused and professional security service that delivers premium results and offers peace of mind to owners and their investment. As part of ADT's global reach, we also have access to a wide range of new high-tech security devices which can be implemented according to specific needs."
"The role of the developer is crucial," he says. "Construction and equipment must be of an acceptable standard. If standards are lowered for, say, the construction of a perimeter wall, electric fencing or alarm installation, this may result in the eventual failure of the security measures. Accordingly, ADT has strict standards for all aspects of the security service it provides, whether relating to equipment or the performance demanded of its guarding division."
Pienaar adds that a professional security supplier must always stay one step ahead of the criminal. Thus, any movement or activity at the approaches to an estate should be visible from the guardhouse and there should be adequate lighting at the entrance. Tinted windows make it more difficult for criminals to see what is going on inside the guardhouse. If there is an intercom at the access gates, and the gates can be opened and closed by remote control without the guards leaving the guardhouse, they are less vulnerable to surprise attack from outside.
"The key to a successful professional service is an appropriate split between communication and security," says Pienaar. "Our access gate guards and patrol guards are trained to communicate with residents and assist them in emergencies or unexpected situations and to act promptly and decisively when danger threatens. At all times there is close interaction between our guarding and armed response divisions."
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