South African Surveillance and Security Needs

By John Honovich, Published Jun 22, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

South Africa has a global reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world. With higher crime, comes increased demand for security. In this update, we overview some data points and make a few comparative observations.

According to various national statistics, South Africa is in the Top 5 globally in pretty much all the 'big' crime categories: murder, rape, robberies, gun violence, kidnappings, etc. Indeed, these ranking underemphasize the severity of crime as it is based on total crimes in each category, not crimes per capita (e.g., South Africa has almost 20,000 murders out of a population of ~50 Million where the US has about 16,000 out of a population of over 300 million). Furthermore, over 10% of South Africans report being victims of violent crime each year [link no longer available] whereas only about 3% do so in the UK. Other problems reported include home invasion and armed bandits breaking into businesses. The South Africa Police Department offers updated crime statistics [link no longer available].

In June 2010, Frost & Sullivan released market sizing estimates for the South African surveillance market. They estimate the South Africa CCTV revenue of $537.7 million in 2008 reaching $869.3 million by 2015, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1 per cent from 2008 to 2015. While the release is not clear whether this is total end user revenue or manufacturer only revenue, we suspect it is for all end user purchases of CCTV (primarily because $1/2 billion of manufacturer revenue in a 50 million person country sounds unrealistic relative to the global market's $10-15 billion.

We are certainly not experts in the South African market, we did want to share Ben's experiences having worked in both US and South Africa projects in the recent past:

"In comparison to even rough US inner city neighborhoods, the level of security concern and anxiety in South Africa was far higher. We were warned to not walk far from our hotel, to not roll down our windows in cars and to not use certain cabs, among a few of the restrictions we've never considered in the US. Furthermore, facility security was far more 'enhanced' with more equipment, more barriers and generally far less regard for aesthetic impact or restrictions. Even for homes, concerns about various types of attacks were widespread with many people we met had been victimized."

We'd be greatly interested in feedback from our South African members or others who have direct experience in the region.

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