Three Ways the Landscape of Security in South Africa is Changing

With South Africa’s crime rates on the rise and the South African police force falling short in many ways, private security has long been a necessary and welcomed solution for many.

by | May 4

3 min read

For years, the private security industry has operated in the same way – a crime occurs, and a security vehicle responds. This model, while incredibly effective in many ways, is not without its flaws. Firstly, only a lucky few are able to afford private security, and secondly, when an incident occurs, the response is reactive – meaning it’s usually too late to prevent a crime from occuring. 

In 2021, we’re seeing a wave of smart security innovations that have the potential to drastically change the landscape of the industry. Some of the pillars of these innovations include: 

  1. Detection
  2. Networks
  3. Predictability


  1. Detection

One of the latest smart security trends in South Africa is license plate recognition. High speed CCTV cameras have been strategically placed at important intersections across South African cities. These cameras are used to detect every passing vehicle, which are cross-checked against multiple databases to detect stolen vehicles or criminals on the move. This solution creates a vast amount of visibility, centralises the footage which is constantly being monitored by security professionals, and creates the ultimate goal of easy detection. Once the detection of a vehicle occurs, a private security or police vehicle is dispatched.  

Other powerful CCTV systems, such as a camera system that utilises the power of artificial intelligence to continuously learn about its environment from a fixed location, ensure the 24/7 monitoring that humans simply can’t provide. 

These cameras pick up when there are abnormalities within the environment, and the system then alerts a controller who can dispatch the necessary emergency personnel to the required location. As smart as these tech-driven solutions are, those who are affected by crime are still dependent on their specific response company, resulting in a long response time. So how do we harness the power of technology to not only detect crime, but help us fight it immediately? By building networks.

  1. Networks

There is power in unity and collaboration. The creation of vast security networks is key in changing the landscape of security. We’re currently seeing some of the best private security companies in South Africa joining a smart security network, and utilising the power of technology to overhaul the current outdated response process. 

This network is based on the principles of the shared economy – the sharing of existing resources and services facilitated by a smart platform. It allows the user to connect with the closest response vehicle, regardless of which private company it belongs to, and get help in the shortest amount of time.

This service can be utilised anywhere, anytime across the country, by simply tapping on a panic button via a cell phone or any connected smart device.

Companies like Uber and Airbnb have mastered a business model based on sharing existing resources. These networks collect massive amounts of data and information which can be harnessed to affect great change. This brings us to the last point.

  1. Predictability

Once these networks are in full motion, a massive amount of data is collected. Again, by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and predictive learning, we can begin to understand crime trends and proactively respond to a user’s location – stopping a crime before it has even happened. We simply can’t continue to operate on a responsive basis. By utilising the power of big data, we have the ability to understand crime trends and react proactively rather than reactively. 

With crime in South Africa continuing to rise, it’s clear our response to it needs to change. Using the power of artificial intelligence, smart security networks and big data is indeed a meaningful way to do so.