Security Focus Magazine
Smit Report: Perimeter security and detection
September 2007

Bryan Mincher, is the owner and manager of Razor-Spike International, a South African pioneering company that specializes in the manufacture and installation of patented Razor-Spike anti-climb wall spikes. Says Mr Mincher: “With crime levels soaring to unacceptable levels in South Africa today, weaknesses in perimeter security mean that it is just a matter of time before an incident occurs.  The ideal situation is to deter intruders from attempting to breach the perimeter. If the perimeter is not secure and allows intruders to gain access to a property easily, the chance of incident is very high.”

Demand for Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) is coming from all sectors, from residential and business premises to parastatal and industrial.  This, he says, is evidenced by unrelenting demand for installations in prisons, government premises, foreign consulates, the defense force, townhouse complexes, security complexes, schools and domestic properties.

For Mr Mincher, anti-climb wall spikes, razor wire, electric fences and beams feature at the top of the list of priority deterrents in a system that should include the highest possible physical barriers.  “Walls should be at least 2,4m in height since perimeter security becomes less effective when it is at a height where it can be easily tampered with and neutralized.  A product installed on a wall of this height is a lot more effective than one on a 1,8m wall.  To this, a physical deterrent in the form of Razor-Spike should be fitted to the wall to prevent access to the top of the wall.  We believe that if you can’t get on to the wall, then you can’t get over it.”

He adds: “The need to have a dangerous physical barrier such as Razor-Spike installed on a perimeter structure as a first line of defense has become an absolute necessity with the increase in crime.  In addition, we are finding that combinations of other products such as electric fencing and beams are becoming essential as secondary lines of defense.  The more barriers a potential intruder has to neutralize, the less chance there is of the perimeter being breached.  And the problem of rising crime levels is not confined to South Africa – we’re exporting our products worldwide and our export volumes are growing each year as crime increases globally.”      

In Mr Mincher’s opinion, South Africa’s current crime statistics are not a true reflection of what’s really happening in the country.  “Crime here is without a doubt on the increase and especially rife within the domestic sector,” he says.  “Clients now have to protect their properties with a combination of products in order to stop intruders breaching their perimeter security.  Townhouse complexes have been hard hit by crime and are no longer the safe havens that they are marketed to be.  We advise clients to secure their units within their complexes with products such as Razor-Spike so as to better protect themselves.”

While electrified fencing occupies an important position in today’s perimeter security systems, it is far from being fail-safe and intruder resistant, he continues.  Electric fences are fine as a back-up to physical deterrents such as wall spikes, in his opinion.  However, they are not enough on their own to stop someone breaching a perimeter.  The answer is for electric fences to be connected to alarm systems or armed response companies to be effective. “We are finding that there is growing demand for properties with electric fences to have Razor-Spike fitted underneath the fences.  This is to deny access to the top of the wall and is especially true of townhouse complexes to the point where our advice to consumers is to fit electric fences only once proper anti-climb spikes are fitted to the wall.”