The curfew and lockdown restrictions imposed by the government led to many organisations changing schedules to working from home, leaving offices, warehouses and business premises such as hotels, learning institutions and religious institutions unoccupied, posing a high security threat. Burglars took advantage of the quiet nights and deserted streets to break in.
While many people lost their jobs due to Covid-19 there was an increase in crime. Cases were reported of thieves in public service vehicles and bodabodas making away with valuable items from people. Others were targeting shops and also mugging pedestrians.
Most business owners sought different security solutions tailored to the nature of their premises.
The tourism and hospitality industry was the most hit when Covid-19 struck due to closure of restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops and restriction of movement in and out of the country.
Besides guarding services, clients in the financial institutions also closed branches to mitigate risks of Covid-19, especially in Uganda, hence less operations. There was a negative impact on our cash-in-transit escort and cash management solutions where cashless transactions were introduced.
Private security service providers say they have had to reset their response plans and deploy advanced technology to cope with the pandemic-induced challenges.
Most companies have shown willingness to reorganise the security from the traditional model of a watchman at the gate, by integrating advanced technology which has significantly enhanced accuracy, privacy, and detection in real-time thereby reducing operational costs and potential risks.
Alarm and fire detector systems installed in business premises are monitored from our 24-hour control room in real-time, enabling response and monitoring teams to take action in case of a break-in or a fire. This has reduced cases of burglaries.
Cybersecurity has also become crucial. While most teams continue working from home, an organisation may fall victim to cyber-attack threats, leaking of confidential data and theft of intellectual property that may be caused by the use of open-source WiFi.
These threats may lead to revenue loss and disruption of business operations and damage its reputation.
Private security firms have incorporated high-end software or applications, which are the frontline systems and the future as the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is unpredictable.
The installation of automatic heat-detection thermal cameras, for instance, paired with facial-recognition software will enhance the fever-screening station, replacing the hand-held thermal cameras mostly manned by security guards or front office operators.
The sophisticated digital surveillance ‘social distancing detectors’ have a camera software that rings a buzzer or alerts security staff when two or three people stand or sit less than six feet apart.
It counts the distance and the number of people in a room, detecting those not wearing a face mask. These security systems could be effective in malls, hospitals, supermarkets, airports, learning and religious institutions and workplaces.
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