Aerial Drone Footage in Security Risk Management

Drone Guards Aerial Drone Footage for Security Risk Assessment

Crime in South Africa is an ongoing concern. One only needs to observe daily news feeds to appreciate the magnitude of the crime issue our country faces. Security Risk Management services are therefore often used by residential estate and commercial property managers. This is to assess vulnerabilities they face in securing their assets. These independent services typically include residential security surveys, corporate security risk assessments and independent security service provider evaluations. The good news is that in recent times, some of these services have been enhanced by incorporating aerial drone footage.

Security risk surveys are best conducted by Security Risk Management companies and usually start with a study of the area outside the perimeter of the property. They usually end with a visual inspection of the premises itself. The overall objective is to observe potential security threats. This includes location, known criminal elements, local hazards, access and egress vulnerability, as well as vulnerable areas directly outside or inside the property.

What the experts say

According to Andy Lawler, MD of Sentinel Risk Management, a security risk assessment helps to identify those areas around a home or commercial property that are vulnerable to break-in or attack and should therefore be protected.  

“Sometimes these assessments are hindered by concealed areas or places that are physically impossible to access. This is where a drone can capture information from above and make the job of a risk consultant a lot easier and way more efficient.”

Andy Lawler – Sentinel Risk Management

In addition, completing an inspection of a mine, property or estate perimeter, the Security Risk Management specialist, otherwise known as an assessor, does not always have access to all the outer areas of the boundary wall or fence. It is for this reason, drones have fast become an invaluable asset, both to the estate or property management team, as well as the assessor.

Security Risk Management from a Vantage Point

From a practical perspective, during a walk or drive around the property, the assessor will most likely have a limited view beyond the perimeter. This very well might render the assessment incomplete. So, using drone footage captured from above, adds substantial evidence to their assessment and potential recommendations.

Most security risk assessments start from the outside inwards. Surrounding open areas are inspected first. The focus here is on bushes, trees, bridges or squatter camps close to the perimeter wall. It is safe to assume that is where suspects could hide, observe, plan and start their actions from beyond the property. Notwithstanding privacy considerations, the aerial drone captures data from within an estate or commercial site from a height of approximately 35 m. This gives a great perspective from a bird’s eye view.

Drone Guards Aerial Drone footage of Perimeter wall
Risk Identified: Tree Overgrowth at Perimeter Wall (Image by Drone Guards)

Secondly, the areas between the borders and the houses or buildings are inspected. Here the view from above gives many insights about distances and weaknesses. The assessor uses this aerial drone footage in addition to other information gathered, and therefore enhances reports and recommendations of any security upgrades.

The third advantage of using a drone when inspecting the outside perimeter of a property is safety. Especially where there are bushes and known squatter areas. Assessors are often confronted by hostile individuals when walking through these open areas. Considering this high risk, drones allow the assessors to observe these areas from a safe distance without any threat to their lives.

What you need to know about obtaining aerial drone footage

In conclusion, the use of drone technology in South Africa is regulated by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). It is therefore important to ensure you ask your Security Risk Management specialist or drone service provider for their credentials. This would include their Remote Operators Certificate (ROC) including their third-party liability insurance. You will also have to grant them landowner permission to operate on your site. Flexible Use of Airspace permission needs to obtained should your site be in controlled airspace.

For additional information on how to obtain and use aerial drone footage to add to your security risk assessment, contact us via or follow Drone Guards on Facebook.

Note: All footage within this article was done by Drone Guards.


  1. Sam Joubert

    Hi. Yes i would also like to know how i can be included for such a inspection for one and two….how are you guys planing on dodging the law when it comes to restriction as far as buildings and people are concerned….

  2. Kim James

    Hi Sam
    Please share your contact details so that I can connect with you to discuss.
    In the meantime, herewith some information:

    – As a certified operator we have SACAA approved processes, procedures and safety protocols in place to operate over people, property and public roads. No law dodging necessary 🙂
    – We obtain all relevant permissions from landowners, HOA’s, municipalities etc.
    – Privacy is of utmost importance, so processes and permissions again come into play
    – Depending on where the site is, risk assessments will determine further mitigation with regards to communication, operation and permission.

    We look forward to discussing this in more detail.

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