In the movies the lead operative pilots a drone with heat seeking missiles and is able to target anthills with pinpoint accuracy from the other side of the globe. The top investigator catches a killer by zooming into a background character to see the reflection of said bad guy in the cornea of an eyeball (we wish). The tech guy is super awesome and can build comprehensive streams of information and data instantly on a giant transparent screen that takes up half the room (so cool, so not realistic). Back on planet earth though, most people sit with a single screen and about 18 windows open, tackling a severe lack of hard drive space, with no idea where the music is coming from.
That said, we can confirm that for all the movie ‘magic’ out there, there is some truth to it all too. For instance, the growing demand for and integration of tech resources in the realm of crime fighting is honestly quite mind blowing. So, fine, we don’t have hover boards and jet pack sneakers… yet, but what we do have is intelligent cameras, motion activation to provide proactive security response, and facial recognition that can also interpret mood and alert to potential threat.
We’re Watching (Out For) You.
Here’s a little-known fact for you. Brace yourself. South Africa has one of the highest camera per capita ratios in the world, and with more going up each year, by the thousands, our coverage is only going to get more intense. What does this mean exactly? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but we (SA at large) are watching you (so stop picking your nose ;)).
There has been a massive investment in surveillance technology due to its (in theory) crime fighting impact and its increasing intersection with AI profiling. We say ‘in theory’ because while the results speak for themselves – surveillance technology definitely helps, we have/are proof of it, it still requires a few things, including but not limited to:
- tech remaining functional and being maintained,
- control rooms that are manned,
- data that is correctly flagged and interpreted,
- and humans that can react appropriately and decisively to this information.
This is where private security forces raise their hands. At Marshall Security for instance, we are proud of the fact that we were the first team to pilot ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) in KwaZulu-Natal, and our focus on combining on the ground physical security (people) with state-of-the-art technology continues to be a benchmark of ours, that has an overwhelmingly positive impact within the communities we serve.
Various other security role-players now also utilize these (and other) technological advancements. Ultimately though, we would all be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the point where security and privacy intersect and how we must best navigate what is essentially at times, murky waters. It is an ongoing evolving sector and process, but ultimately it is one with citizens best interests at heart.
So, if you are wondering about the state of security in general, what to consider regarding new property safeguards, and the way tech will continue to evolve in this area going forward, read on. We’ve got you.
Stopping Crime Before It Happens. Here’s How.
You don’t need to employ the services of a fortune teller to inform you that they see ‘danger in your future,’ we live in South Africa (and we’re global citizens), we got that less than pleasant memo a while back, thank you very much. But there are other more accurate ways to get a glimpse at the future and react appropriately.
- Did you know that active private security personnel outnumber our SAPS by about 5 to 1 (inactive registered security personal escalate numbers to in excess of 2.5 million countrywide). That’s a lot. However even at those numbers, not every place can be guarded and protected, every moment of every day, plus that little thing called human error can creep in. This is why so many private security companies lean into technology and man surveillance centres as they do. They are the back up for your back up, and it works.
- ANPR is of course well documented by now, with cameras going up in area hot spots all over the country for years. Number plates are read, and discrepancies flagged, so that action can be taken accordingly. Marshall Security has made a great number of arrests using this tech, capturing bad guys (literally and figuratively) as they enter areas to do bad guy things.
- The natural progression of ANPR however is straight up Facial Recognition Verification Software. This sort of artificial intelligence has already become an incredibly effective revolution in the world of crime fighting. Now, when a person enters a premises, they can be analyzed against a database of people, including staff, frequent customers and ‘problematic humans’ that people must be on the lookout for. The software can see beyond hats and facial hair and can now even interpret mood with a certain degree of accuracy, which is very helpful (if not a little disconcerting).
- Virtual Line Crossing. We love this one. We can now take CCTV cameras and turn them into a proactive solution, instead of simply offering a retrospective play-by-play of what went wrong (gripping TV though it may be). Now areas in a cameras field of view can be marked off as a virtual line, and they can trigger if something (or someone) crosses that path. You can plug facial recognition into this as well, so that staff can be whitelisted, and bad guys blacklisted – so that only certain people trigger an alarm event. When the ‘tripwire’ is activated, it is picked up in your private security firms surveillance centre. They can view the trigger, and either stand down (if it’s a dog or a gust of wind that blew a bin, or take action, if it is a shifty dude in a balaclava).
- Virtual Patrols. Instead of always having physical forces actively on duty, by using tech, including CCTV cameras along perimeter fences, virtual lines, and motion sensors your security teams can do virtual patrols of premises, at random. Then if they see anything untoward, appropriate action can be taken quickly and effectively, for instance, did you know that pepper spray systems can be integrated and activated as needed? Yeah, bad guys aren’t a fan of those.
- Drones. Did you know that as of June 2022, the SAPS deploy drones as an anti-crime and monitoring measure? The focus is generally on rural areas, however private security companies have been using this tech as a crime prevention tool for several years now. Drones are particularly helpful in business and private estates, where tracking criminals on the ground can be tricky. However, fear not private citizen that is suddenly replaying every move they’ve made in recent days, there is also legislation in place that ensures usage is controlled and not abused. Think licenses, qualifications, and assessments.
That is just a quick glance at all the ways we, and other security teams are watching (OUT for) you, and we hope they go some way to making you feel more seen (ba-dum-tss) and safer.
If you would like to chat about your options in this next phase of security, please give us a call on our In Case of Anything number, or if you are keen for a little more reading, you can take a look at our Off Site Monitoring introduction.