A live human being visible across the property, with the ability to react dynamically to any situation provides a deterrence factor that is unparalleled. However, the effectiveness of that human can be greatly increased when augmented with technology. Probably the most common example is the use of cameras to allow the security officer to secure more areas than he is physically in, and add deterrence by showing an area is always under surveillance.
Cameras are one of the oldest tools in security, but relatively recent improvements are making them easier, cheaper, and more effective than ever. Even the cameras contained in most cellphones today have vastly superior resolution and night vision capabilities than was possible just a few years ago. Standalone security cameras take these improvements even further, with new technology such as facial recognition, digital storage, and movement tracking systems becoming mainstream.
The value of these systems is not debatable. In Detroit, many businesses have adopted highly visible cameras, with a bright green light leaving no doubt that the cameras are recording. The drop in crimes such as carjackings, and even homicides in the affected areas has been so pronounced that soon all business open late at night will be required to have the cameras installed. The games in Korea are making use of over a thousand cameras that even have X-Rays built in, in order to search cars and bags for hidden persons or firearms. While the innovations make for a more secure environment, the basic principle that a person will be reluctant to commit a crime when he knows he is being watched has been true since the first crimes were committed.
Every position that a security officer is assigned to has a set of post orders. Essentially a form of job description, post orders list everything that the officer is supposed to accomplish on his shift.
Post orders do more than just tell the guard what to do. They detail the policies of the enterprise that is being protected. The most effective sets will be joint creations, starting with what the client wants to be accomplished, incorporated in the manner the security professionals determine will be most effective, followed by a final review by the client.
Post orders are the groundwork for a security plan. They allow new officers to be familiarized with a position quickly, and ensure that the security officer is correctly implementing the protection measures that are specific to that location. Post orders for a position covering a hotel may contain detailed instructions on how to respond to guests or treat incoming packages, whereas an officer working at a parking lot may have guides on how to record vehicle information or remove a wrongly parked car, and these instructions would be of no value to the other position.
There is a popular perception that when the weather becomes colder and winter conditions take hold that less crime is committed, and that the community is generally safer. This is true, in that sometimes statistics imply that less total crimes are reported over freezing days. However, it is a critical miscalculation to interpret that to mean all crimes see a universal drop without considering how the weather affects specific types of crime.
Warmer days see a higher number of spontaneous crimes, especially passion crimes and violence in crowds. In colder weather, people in general spend less time outside or at events, meaning there are fewer opportunities for these types of crimes to occur. Calculated crimes can see very different behavior patterns. Burglary and property theft frequently see higher rates of crime in lower temperatures, in particular in businesses that need to shut down during days they would normally work. Often snow days with low crime rates will see a large increase when the temperature rises, showing that the cold will only delay and not deter a determined criminal.
Climate shapes how people live. However, it is arguable that many of the effects on crime are due more to the changing habits of the population as opposed to the temperature itself. Auto theft spikes as millions of cars are left running unattended while they warm up. Higher unemployment rates, fewer witnesses, and hours of extra darkness all assist in making the determined criminal’s task easier. Weather does not prevent crime, any more than it causes it, and cutting corners in protection only ensures you are at your most vulnerable.
Possibly the most well known of the tasks usually given to a security officer, and probably the most important of them, is the task of entry control, that of only allowing access by authorized personnel and keeping the property perimeter secure. Frequently not given the same consideration are the many duties and difficulties faced once the property is occupied, in this case that of exit control.
Safety codes usually require that exits are always open. This is contrary to proper security design; material taken through open fire exits can create massive losses. There are a few solutions that have been used to solve this issue. Some are hardware based, such as a panic button to lock the doors down for only enough time to fix the situation, keeping the doors open and thus in compliance most of the time. That however provides no security if the act is not caught as it happens.
Some solutions are more concrete, for example in the retail and restaurant businesses, alarms are sometimes attached and set off any time an exit-only door is opened. In many scenarios, such as high rises and secure office buildings, there may be no alternative to make sure the exit is unused than to have the exit screened at all times. Though the methods and approaches may vary, there is always a strategy to remove any bypass to the security system.
Capital Asset Protection hopes for a safe, secure, and happy holiday for all of our employees, clients, and associates.
The first piece of a physical protection system that comes into play, whether in deterring an intruder or attempting to stop the attempt at intrusion, is the perimeter barrier. This barrier can take many forms, from a fence or wall meant to physically obstruct entry, to signs that deter trespassing by ensuring property boundaries are known.
As with all elements of security, the best solution will vary based on the environment and the purpose of the property. In some cases the threat level is low enough that simply marking the area the owner does not wish to be crossed is enough to stop intrusion, or more there could be a worry that more oppressive measures could ward off potential customers.
In other cases, the threat level is high enough that more defenses are needed. To an extremely motivated intruder, a fence or wall will only delay their entry. However, as one of many delay barriers to be overcome, in addition to the ability to limit access points to certain areas, perimeter barriers remain a significant element in both deterring and stopping intrusion.
In an ideal situation, the security of any location will be first considered while the design of the property is being first created. Many environmental factors have a large influence on the potential protection plans that can be implemented there, even things that may seem unrelated, such as vegetation.
A fence or similar barrier may help in securing a location by deterring intrusion or limiting traffic to particular areas. It may also hinder security by limiting visibility. In addition, if a fence or other security measure may not present the image that an owner wants for his property, and a security operation should not hinder normal operation.
Unfortunately, factoring in a protection plan while designing a property is a relatively new concept, and many businesses are based in older facilities that have limitations that need to be worked around. However, every property likely has some room for improvement that can be revealed by comprehensive evaluation by security professionals, even if it as simple as increasing lighting levels in the right area.
The criminality of an individual is by itself not sufficient for a crime to occur. Though in many cases, a criminal will be so determined to commit a crime that it will be impossible to deter, the circumstances of the situation and environment need to have certain characteristics for a crime to be possible.
Situational Crime Prevention works on four principles: that if the effort needed by the criminal to commit the crime is increased, that if the risks to the criminal during perpetration are increased, if the potential rewards for the crime are reduced, and if the excuses to plead ignorance of the act being illegal are removed, then the likelihood of the crime being committed drops significantly.
In many environments it is impossible to remove the assets on site that make tempting targets for an intrusion. That leaves the best path to stopping one to be making it clear to the potential intruder that his goals in theft or vandalism will be extremely difficult to achieve, and impossible to do so without being identified. With hardening measures such as physical barriers and access control systems, and highly visible surveillance by cameras, or most effectively by live personnel that can react to an situation immediately, almost any area will be passed on for a more vulnerable and less intimidating target.
The first step in the risk assessment process is a comprehensive examination of the defensibility of the property to be secured - identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the terrain and building design, what security precautions are already in place, and finding where additional measures need to be applied.
A complete vulnerability assessment will look at every trait of the property, even those that may not seem to be relevant. All buildings have some form of security even if it may not be apparent, even if it is only the walls themselves. For something as unassuming as a door, one will need to consider the quality and condition of the door, what kind of lock it has, and how often it will need to be used in normal conditions.
A systematic approach needs to be taken to identify all security deficiencies on the property and what form of physical protection plan should be applied to eliminate them, all while working around the limitations that are unique to that property – a security plan must find a way to be effective without intruding on the productivity and culture of the workplace and remaining mindful of what the overall cost to implement the operation will be.