CORTAC © 2017 Website & Photography: Jessica Notelo

Please view​ for the latest information on Covid-19 in South Africa and stop the spread of fake news

Office: +27 (0) 861 267 822  |

Personal security – Can it become an unconscious competence?

July 28, 2015



Crime, including contact crime, in South Africa is rampant.


We all know someone who has been the subject of a hijacking, driveway armed robbery or home invasion. The incidence of brazen, cell phone store, armed robberies, in and around shopping malls, by large gangs is well publicised.


So what do we do? We can’t retreat to the safety of a bunker. We need to continue with our active lifestyles and even more so during the end of year festive/holiday period.


To give ourselves the best chance of an incident-free lifestyle our approach to security must be engrained in everything we do, like being a skill, i.e., as described in ‘The Four Stages of Learning’,, it must become an ‘unconscious competence’. Unconscious competence is the final stage of learning a skill and is when it has become a natural part of us; we don't have to think about it.


Unless you’re living in cloud-cuckoo-land you would have progressed beyond the first stage of learning, unconscious incompetence, and would at least know that you don’t know what to do and or are not applying the basics of security, conscious incompetence.  


By upping your skills through, focus, applying common sense, research, taking advice from your security company, and importantly starting to practice these methods you will immediately give yourself a better chance in the war zone we live in. As you improve your skills and as you begin to apply them activity and religiously you will become more adept at them and transition to skills learning stage three, i.e. conscious competence. "I know that I know how to do this."


Remember the objective always is to display a hardened exterior, don’t be the softest target, don’t be a sitting duck. This doesn’t mean you need to be a muscle-bound, gun-toting individual, it is about your demeanour, being focussed, and the common sense choices you make. This refers to applying the first ‘D’, viz., Deterrence, of the rings of security, normally used when describing the security arrangements for a facility, described by Richard Kibbey, (Applied Biosafety, 10(1) pp. 40 - 46 2005). There is no reason why the same 4 D’s, deter, detect, delay, defend, can’t apply to your everyday, out and about approach to security.   


From a practical point of view you are most vulnerable to criminal attack in the following circumstances –


When you’re out in the public spaces either for business, pleasure, or just running errands you are vulnerable. It’s about where you drive, how you drive, where you park, how you park, where you walk, how you control your personal belongings. It’s about being focussed on your environment not being inwardly focussed.


When you head home are you being followed? How do you know you’re not? Are you applying the 3 S’s, “Slow Down, Shut Up, and C[S]ircle? Have you asked your security company for a ‘meet and greet’? Do you have the Control Room number on speed dial? Many attacks occur in the driveway. Don’t become a driveway armed robbery statistic.


When relaxing at home or entertaining keep your home as secure as possible. Lock doors behind you, make sure windows are locked. Before seeing your guests off and opening your gate, get your security company to check your street.  


The fourth stage of learning a skill, the skill of self-protection, and of not being the softest target around, is when the (simple) methodologies are so engrained in you that you are practicing them without thinking, i.e., you have reached a point of unconscious competence relating to this skill. 


CORTAC is equipped to assist with understanding your security landscape and in the design, review / assessment, implementation, including project management, and, ongoing audit of security approaches and solutions. 

CORTAC is a high-end security solutions provider operating in the commercial, residential, mining and industrial sectors.

Please reload

Featured Posts


November 25, 2019

Please reload

Recent Posts

December 7, 2019

November 25, 2019

October 31, 2019

January 8, 2019

December 6, 2018

Please reload