Partnerships pay dividends

April 2006 Security Services & Risk Management

The recent All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) shows that while there has only been a 2% drop in overall crime in South Africa over the last year, encouragingly the top end of the South African market (LSM 9 and 10) has in contrast experienced a significant 4% drop in crime.

According to ADT, one of SA's leading security companies, one of the contributing factors to this reduction is the manner in which security companies, authorities and communities are now beginning to tackle crime together.

"Operating in isolation is not an option these days. We rely a lot on information received from our clients, the SAPS, community associations and other relevant parties. Clients have also been educated to become more vigilant in their approach to security. This two-way communication has resulted in ADT not only offering a reactive security service but also a proactive one," says Danna Strydom, managing director of ADT Security.

Peter Langschmidt, demographer and publisher of ConsumerScope, an interactive DVD consisting of a comprehensive range of South African statistics and demographics confirms that crime remains the second largest worry of the population, once again particularly in the higher LSM brackets. He says there is no doubt South Africans are becoming more security conscious and realise they also need to take a degree of responsibility for their own safety. In the last year alone, an additional 125 000 households, representing almost half a million people, now have some form of security service in their home. This brings the total to 966 000 households when compared to just 840 000 a year ago.

Strydom says an emerging trend that is gaining in popularity is that of a neighbourhood security service offering as communities recognise the need to take the initiative in contributing to their own security. "ADT has taken a proactive stance in this area and pioneered Localised Security Scheme (LSS) initiatives to assist communities in offering residents the best possible security options. At present we have over 100 LSS sites in operation in Gauteng alone," says Strydom.

When compared to standard security offerings, an LSS is a highly proactive partnership approach, which places control of the security needs of an area directly in the residents' hands and is highly successful in combating petty crime.

Another example of communities working together, often in partnership with SAPS and other emergency services to promote community safety and a cleaner environment, is the Precinct Web concept where the Parkhurst Precinct has emerged as a pace setter in this area. Established in May 2005, Precinct Web has a team of 10 Ambassadors, most of whom are former Sandton Commandos. These Ambassadors patrol Parkhurst and several neighbouring suburbs as the eyes and ears of their communities, checking for problems ranging from fallen trees across roads and blocked storm water drains to illegal dumping and monitoring of suspicious people and vehicles. Both ADT and Outsurance, the two main sponsors of Precinct Web have put their weight behind this initiative, which is an excellent example of how local government, business and the grassroots community can work together in a rewarding partnership.

On the technology front, Strydom confirms that security technology is racing ahead with CCTV, beams and the like, playing a bigger part in conventional security solutions. "These security solutions are more costly but more and more consumers/businesses are requesting sophisticated security technology to safeguard their homes or businesses," says Strydom.

There is no doubt that South Africa has one of the most sophisticated private security industries in the world, and with 4780 registered security companies employing 209 000 registered security guards, it is also a significant employer of manpower.

"In our business our product is defined by the quality of our people, so a lot of attention is focused on both theoretical and practical training. We work in a highly regulated industry with stringent control mechanisms," he says.

In addition to its own special training academy, in 2002 ADT, in conjunction with the Services and Security (SAS) SETA, launched an Electronic Security Technician Learnership Programme.

The learnership programme was borne out of a need for formal training and qualifications in the installation of alarm systems.

"We believe security has become everyone's business and more and more people are realising the benefit of working together as a community to safeguard their homes, businesses, and families. The more eyes and ears we have on the ground and the more professional our guards and staff are, the greater the deterrent for criminals wanting to enter our suburbs," concludes Strydom.

For more information contact ADT, 086 121 2400.

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