Wire plays an important role in the functionality of security systems, such as alarm systems and electric fencing, says security solutions company Live Wire technical manager Mike Penny, who notes that 90% of the security systems the company sells run on wire.
He further points out that demand for electric fencing in South Africa continues to grow, as it is usually made of steel wire that is multistrained and hard to snap.
“Electric fencing is an affordable security solution and the average South African can secure his or her home with this technology,” he states.
The South African Police Service’s (SAPS’s) 2011 crime statistics showed that 247 630 burglaries at residential premises were reported in South Africa between April 2010 and March 2011. Gauteng had the highest number of reported break-ins, with 70 794, down from 74 902 break-ins reported in 2009/10.
Long-distance tertiary education provider Unisa’s School of Criminal Justice Professor Rudolph Zinn conducted extensive research on residential robberies and held interviews with arrested and convicted robbers during 2006 and 2007. He published his findings in a report in 2008.
“The SAPS subsequently made a case docket analysis of 1 000 house robbery cases and reported that they concurred with my findings,” Zinn tells Engineering News.
The research indicated that the average robber committed 103 robberies over seven years before being caught and would monitor a home for as long as two weeks to gather relevant information.
“As technology develops and security systems improve, burglars educate themselves about it and improve their skills.
“Security systems are available to everyone and robbers will get acquainted with the system and perform extensive research on the homes they are targeting,” Penny warns.
Security companies, therefore, have to keep updating and developing security technologies to ensure people’s safety.
Effective Security Solution
Penny states that Live Wire’s most effective security solution, developed ten years ago, is the connection of an alarm system to electric fencing.
“It is recommended that the alarm system be connected to the electric fencing, as it is much more effective at keeping burglars out,” he emphasises.
This system comprises a two-core wire running from the output of an electric fence energiser to the 24-hour zone on the alarm system. If the relay on the electric fence shows there has been a short circuit or tampering, it closes and sends a signal through the wire to the system.
The system will then send a signal to the security company’s control room and response vehicles will be sent out to the premises.
“It is effective, as an alarm company is notified of a potential threat at the first point of entry,” Penny states.
Further, Live Wire has found that hard-wire-connected devices, while more time consuming to connect, are more stable than wireless devices.
Wireless security systems have become popular, as the installation process is less time consuming and less labour intensive than a hard-wire system, he notes.
However, he adds that the cost difference between the two devices is not significant.
The company further notes that electric fencing is not cost effective for large areas, such as farms, but is commonly used as an effective security system around farmhouses.
“We have many clients in the farming industry who have electric fencing around their houses that is connected to alarm systems. “The demand for electric fencing on farms has increased considerably, owing to the vulnerability of those living on farms and the number of farm murders and attacks occurring,” Penny states.
Zinn adds that 20% of the house robbers he interviewed for his research had also been involved in farm attacks.
While Zinn did not focus specifically on farm attacks during his research, he discovered relevant information about this topic.
“The main motive for farm robberies was large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery that were kept in houses,” he explains.
Zinn says he found that house robbers considered farm attacks as simply another house robbery, with the only difference being that the house is located on a farm.
His research also confirmed that electric fences, as well as closed-circuit television systems monitored by guards and certain types of detection beams, effectively deterred robbers.
“Across the board, electric fencing has proved to be effective in keeping burglars out. “Connecting this technology to an alarm system provides extra security for a home and peace of mind for the residents,” says Penny.