Criminals have become so brazen that physical security barriers and alarms alone are no longer the only deterrents that business owners can rely on. Entry methods have evolved from classic window breaking to criminals removing front doors completely.
“When doors and windows pose too much of a challenge, they will enter through the roof. We’ve also experienced isolated incidents in which cement blocks in walls were removed so that criminals could gain entry,” says Agnieszka Gryn, Regional Executive Fidelity ADT.
The good news is that as fast as these criminal modus operandi’s evolve so do the security technology and solutions to combat them. “We have seen a shift over the last five years, in terms of intruder detection, to using the Internet of Things and interconnected devices. Today, mobile security apps, outdoor detection beams, add-ons to electric fencing, CCTV, smart analytics technology, video alarm verification systems (when your alarm eye picks up movement, it takes a snapshot to show the operator whether it is an intruder or something else), integrated alarm systems, that are connected to the internet and can interface with other devices like turning on lights etc, are all part of security solutions on offer,” she says.
She adds that there has also been a move towards smart analytics technology, where cameras learn to differentiate between normal and abnormal behaviour. This cuts down on reaction times, user error and the amount of manpower to keep track of all camera surveillance systems.
Perimeter security and access control remains the first line of defence. “We urge all business owners to consider installing outdoor detection devices and perimeter security to reduce the chances of criminals reaching your property and gaining access to the building. It needs to be seen as an investment not only in your assets but in your people too. Fortunately, technology, like CCTV for example, has evolved immensely over the last few years making it more affordable and more advanced than ever before.”
Gryn says outdoor detection beams can be strategically placed around your property which will trigger the alarm before a criminal has the chance to get to the actual building. “Another alternative worth looking at is microwave Passive Infra-Red detectors which are specifically designed for very hot areas – such as a roof. Normal infra-red detectors are not as effective when installed in extremely hot areas,” she says.
She points out that if you are considering a wall-top electric fence, make sure that the right fence is used as well as the right installer. “The effectiveness of these fences can be compromised if the wrong fence is selected and the installation done incorrectly. Choosing the correct installer is crucial and we highly recommend getting several quotes before choosing an installer. You should consider getting a qualified consultant to write a technical specification for the fence. This specification should take into account factors including the wiring and structure of the fence, the height, number of zones required, and the lifespan of the fence. The specification should then be sent to electric fence installers operating in the area in order to compare pricing, quality and advice.”
Regarding gates, Gryn says its important make sure that your gate opens and closes as quickly as possible. “Also ensure that the motor has a locked box covering it to stop any attempts at tampering.”
“If you have beams, make sure the beams are installed correctly and at the most optimal angle to increase their range and effectiveness. It is also important to make sure that these beams are not obscured by shrubbery, or near reflective surfaces to prevent excessive false alarm activations.”
“And of course, having a reliable and professional response team on call is key. Even better is a security provider that also provides pro-active patrolling in your area.”
Lastly, she emphasises the importance of testing and servicing the security system. “Wear and tear on security systems is a reality and regular maintenance and upgrades are a necessity. As with any technical equipment, especially those exposed to the elements, there will be aging and wear and tear over time. It is best to address this in the form of regular maintenance of these systems. Even with regular maintenance, however, every couple of years parts will need to be replaced.
“Waiting until the system becomes faulty is not ideal,” says Gryn. “Unfortunately, we regularly encounter incidents at small businesses where a break-in has occurred and only then business owners realise that their security system was not operating correctly. With regular maintenance and testing, this can be avoided.”
“If you suspect there are vulnerable areas in your business security, call in a security expert to help you find solutions,” she concludes.