Blowing smoke at criminals

November 2010 Security Services & Risk Management, Retail (Industry)

State-of-the-art technology can reduce risk in the retail environment.

We are all familiar with the saying that to do the same thing over and over and to expect different results is a sign of insanity. If this is indeed so then the adopters of traditional security methods and technology in the retail environment are in danger of being classified as such.

It is a fact that huge sums of money are spent annually on doing more of the same typical thing over and over with little or no improvement in reducing risks and losses. Most of the systems deployed are reactive and tend to document crime rather than prevent it. Criminals who are intent on burglary or robbery show no concern for these sophisticated systems. In fact they expect to encounter the conventional array of alarm, CCTV and access control systems backed up by guarding and response teams. They defeat these by wearing balaclavas, operating within response time windows and intimidation. The bad news is that they achieve their objectives with seeming impunity. It really is time to break the mould of the same old same old and to embrace new and different technologies.

The idea of fog security as pioneered by SmokeCloak in the UK originally has become a success story of note worldwide. Operating on the basis of rapidly filling an area under attack by a dense white harmless vapour (not unlike theatrical smoke) and, in so doing, shrouding the sought-after goods (and the custodians thereof should they be present) makes it impossible for the criminals to operate, thereby neutralising them and securing the scene.

Those who have become sufficiently fed up with the status quo, embracing this new technology which, granted, needs a paradigm shift in thinking, have been pleasantly surprised with the positive results and the dramatic reduction in losses this brought about.

This new approach is certainly not rocket science stuff and makes use of elementary tactics of concealing the target which has proven to be very successful in battles against a relentless enemy. It does appear though that there is a reticence by many security practitioners to embrace this new technology, often citing unsubstantiated fears and concerns of what might go wrong. However, with a growing number of success stories from all over the world including South Africa, those who continue to ignore this new active deterrent against crime do so at their peril as they will certainly be left behind when it comes to clients seeking holistic solutions that really work.

When one further considers that this technology can be acquired on a rent to buy basis and that the systems start from as little as R440 per month over a 60 month period, it is a 'no brainer' as one of the leading retailers has remarked after their losses per incident were reduced substantially.

For more information contact TCT, +27 (0)11 888 1210,,

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