Residential complexes and estates have invested heavily in high-tech security equipment like beams, night vision cameras, fingerprint access control systems etc, but have found that criminals are ingenious in bypassing these systems.
If they cannot bypass the systems, posing as contractors, Telkom, water meter readers etc, they merely rent a property inside the estate and use that as a base from where they can commit crimes inside the estate.
This emphasises the importance of using the best available technical equipment combined with accurate human intelligence in a bid to ensure the safety of residents and identify criminals posing as residents.
All of these estates are frequented by contractors on a daily basis and effective perimeter security is made a mockery if security officers and access control systems are forced to allow unaccredited contractor staff into the complexes. Criminals bribe security officers to circumvent fingerprint access control systems and any system becomes as effective as the integrity of the human element that manages it.
In most cases the value of observant maids, gardeners and maintenance staff is ignored. A maid watch linked to a 'whistle-blowing' system, where honest employees can anonymously supply valuable information on criminal activities and the methods used to get past high-tech security solutions, could prove to be invaluable.
The use of 'undercover agents' employed as maids, gardeners, electricians, security etc, have proven highly successful in gathering intelligence on criminal elements and identifying security breaches inside estates. This enables the security management of estates to identify vulnerable points in the system and methods used to nullify high-tech security solutions.
The professional vetting and identification of all staff and contractors that are authorised to operate inside an estate has become critical in the current crime situation in South Africa, and no high-tech security solution can function effectively if vetting is not done professionally (ie, pre-engagement polygraph test or criminal record check).
In order to prevent collusion within the security complement it is suggested that the security management, perimeter security officers and CCTV control room staff be outsourced to different security providers so that they can monitor each other and report malpractices by any party.
The compilation of a database of suspect vehicles, suspect individuals and suspect contractors also enables the security staff to prevent crimes rather than investigate incidents that have already occurred. Liaison with surrounding SAPS stations and other community watch organisations and the exchange of information is vital in this regard.
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