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The Panther Companies December 6, 2021

Remote Security for Rural Areas: Protecting Ranches and Energy Operations on the Border

remote-security-for-ruralThe ongoing crisis at the Mexico/U.S. border in South Texas is dangerous for everyone, both the migrants crossing into the U.S. and the residents and workers in the local communities. Migrants are often led by armed human traffickers who prioritize money over safety, and drug smuggling is rampant. Once migrants, drug runners and human traffickers cross the border, they must cross remote, unforgiving terrain to reach civilization. Vehicle theft, high-speed car chases, trespassing, home break-ins and property destruction are all unfortunate consequences of the immigration and drug smuggling crisis at the southern border.

Many of the citizens of South Texas are ranchers who have lived on their land for decades. Illegal border crossings in Texas have been a problem for years, but it has gotten significantly worse recently. In the past, Texas residents typically encountered migrants traveling alone and looking for work. Today, the interactions are more frequent and violent. Large groups of migrants cross private property, often destroying fences and gates to do so. When fences and gates are torn down or left open, ranchers risk losing their livestock. And the landowners are left to foot the bill for the damages, which can reach tens of thousands of dollars.

In September 2021, a resident in the Del Rio area shared his frustration and fear about the border crisis. Page Day, a hunting outfitter, has lived in the area for most of his life and estimated some 2,000 migrants trespassed on his ranch over a three-month period this summer. The migrants cut fences on his land, allowing the exotic animals he stocks and breeds to escape. His business is suffering, as people are hesitant to hunt in remote areas where they may run across migrants and the loss of animals is costly. Day’s wife is afraid to be alone checking fences on the property, and his daughter is afraid to go alone to the barn where her goats are. Day wants to buy more game cameras, but local stores are largely sold out. U.S. Border Patrol installed camera towers on his land, but agents are too busy to monitor them.

Ranches are not the only properties at risk in South Texas. The Eagle Ford Shale play extends from central Texas to the border, crossing many of the same areas that migrants and drug smugglers do. Because oilfield operations run 24/7, personnel arrive and depart drilling sites at night which increases the chance of encountering dangerous migrants or traffickers. Gate guards working alone in remote locations are at risk of robbery or attack from violent drug gangs.

Stay out of harm’s way with remote surveillance

Panther Security’s unmanned gate guard system and 24 hour video surveillance can help other ranchers living on the border. Large ranches like Day’s have miles of fencing and gates that must be checked each day. With the unmanned gate guard system, gates open via cell phone and close automatically once the vehicle drives through. Ranchers and property visitors can operate the gates without having to leave their car or even roll down the window. This technology keeps people safe from potentially violent encounters with migrants or drug smugglers. It is particularly useful for anyone arriving early in the morning or late at night, when migrants are typically on the move. Additionally, migrants are unlikely to open cell-phone activated gates, reducing the risk of the gates being left open and letting out livestock. Oilfield operations in isolated areas near the border also benefit from unmanned gate guard systems. A lone person guarding the entrance to a drilling site could be an easy target for migrants or smugglers. Using an unmanned gate guard keeps oilfield personnel out of harm’s way.

Panther’s remote surveillance systems provide another layer of safety for isolated ranches. The video feeds are monitored 24/7, so ranchers can be automatically alerted about trespassers. They can avoid areas where migrants and smugglers are, and give authorities an accurate location to apprehend the trespassers. Additionally, the camera footage can be reviewed each day, so ranch staff will know if certain areas have been damaged or broken into. They can get a head start on repairing fences that would allow livestock to escape.

Safety is our top priority at Panther Security. Whether it’s a ranch, drilling rig, solar farm or wind farm, we are here to protect your people and your assets.