Security Guards – How to Stay Safe on the Job

How security guards in South Africa can stay safe on the job against the background of South Africa’s high rate of violent crimes can be a headache for security employers and employees alike.

According to the South Africa Police Services report for the third quarter of 2022 (available on the SAPS website), the year-on-year increases for attempted murder was 24.3%, assault to do grievous bodily harm was 8.7%, common assault was 12.0%, and common robbery was 21.2%.

These rates are significantly higher than the crime rates in other developed countries.

Security guards in South Africa can take several measures to enhance their safety in light of the country’s high violent crime rate.


Here are some suggestions for security guards to stay safe on the job

Training and Certification

Ensure that security guards receive proper training and certification from reputable security training institutions.

This should include self-defense techniques, conflict resolution skills, and emergency response procedures.

Situational Awareness

Encourage security guards to be vigilant and observant of their surroundings at all times.

They should pay attention to any suspicious activities or individuals and report them to their superiors or the relevant authorities.


Establish clear communication channels between security guards, their supervisors, and law enforcement agencies.

Encourage the use of two-way radios or other reliable communication devices to enable quick and effective reporting of incidents.


Emphasize the importance of teamwork among security guards.

Encourage them to work together and support each other during patrols or in case of emergencies. This can help deter criminals and improve overall safety.

Equipment and Technology

Provide security guards with appropriate equipment and technology to enhance their safety.

This may include protective gear (such as bulletproof vests), flashlights, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, or access control systems.

These tools can help deter criminals and provide evidence in case of incidents.

Secure Facilities

Ensure that the facilities where security guards are stationed have proper security measures in place.

This may include perimeter fencing, well-lit areas, access control systems, and CCTV cameras.

Regular maintenance and checks should be conducted to ensure these security measures remain effective.

Emergency Response Plans

Develop and regularly practice emergency response plans with security guards.

This should include procedures for handling various situations, such as robberies, assaults, or medical emergencies.

Regular drills can help security guards react quickly and effectively during real incidents.

Cooperation with Law Enforcement

Foster a strong relationship between security companies and local law enforcement agencies.

This can involve sharing information, collaborating on crime prevention initiatives, and establishing protocols for joint responses to incidents.

Self-Defense Training

Provide security guards with self-defense training to equip them with the necessary skills to protect themselves when faced with physical threats.

This can include techniques for immobilization, escape, or de-escalation.

Psychological Support

Recognize the potential impact of working in a high-risk environment and provide access to psychological support services for security guards.

This can help them cope with stress, trauma, or anxiety associated with their roles.

It’s important to note that while these measures can improve safety, they do not guarantee complete protection.

It’s crucial to stay updated on security protocols and adapt them as needed based on the specific circumstances and evolving crime patterns in South Africa.

Additional Tips

  • Vary your route. Don’t always take the same route when patrolling your assigned area.
    • This will make it more difficult for criminals to predict your movements.
  • Be mindful of corners. When approaching a corner, make a wide turn to avoid being ambushed.
  • Maintain a safe distance from suspects. When interacting with suspects, always maintain a safe distance.
    • This will give you time to react if they become aggressive.
  • Be prepared to use force. In some cases, you may need to use force to protect yourself or others.
    • If you are required to use force, use it only as a last resort and use only the amount of force necessary to stop the threat.

These tips illustrate how security guards can stay safe on the job and protect the people and property they are responsible for.