Loadshedding and security

Loadshedding has taken a significant toll on South Africans, since Eskom started implementing it in a bid to combat problems the power distributor is facing. Loadshedding was done, writes Bill Corcoran, “to reduce the pressure on the national power grid so that essential maintenance can be carried out on its aging power generators.” There has been numerous unfortunate effects, including to the economy and health.

But another area has been security. HRFuture writes:

“Eskom’s load shedding is enabling thieves to have a field day in businesses – with business and store employees stealing the most by far – a whopping 48%. Some estimate losses to be closer to 75% of sales.”

IOL reports on a major response from big players in South Africa’s security industry.

“In a letter to Eskom, the SA Intruder Detection Services Association said load shedding was creating “a major security risk”.

And Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said recent cases indicated that criminals knew load-shedding schedules. He predicted an increase in crime when the power was off.

Lionel Strong, an executive member of the Security Association of SA, said: “Many of our members are reporting more robberies during power cuts than before. Criminals are targeting vulnerable areas hit by power cuts.”

It’s no wonder that security jobs in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and other major centres are now needing to be filled more than ever. ADT also offers tips in terms of responses to security, during loadshedding.

They note that alarms operate on batteries and, if it’s more than a year old, it could be time to have the alarm or batteries replaced. Without it, you are left vulnerable and without assistance from your security operator. This is related to electric-fencing: you want your security perimeter to still be activated, even – or, rather, especially – when the power goes down. Find a way to have it operate to switch to battery when the power goes down.

Entering and exiting your home is also a tense moment of vulnerability, as intruders can use shadows of the street to enter your home. Make sure you are ultra aware and move slowly, checking that everything is locked up.

Also, it’s advisable to keep several flashlights at different parts of the house – as well as knowing locations of candles and lighters.

Though some of these are merely enhancements on what we should be doing anyway – being careful when we exit, checking up on our alarm system, etc. – some are unique kinds of measures, such as using flashlights. Nonetheless, they remain essential while we face an extended period of time in darkness – especially when criminals are using this opportunity to do more crime.