Technology is continuously improving the nature of security systems, and making it harder to enter an unauthorized area, or at least very difficult to do so without being identified. There are even some security operations that rely entirely on machines with no human involvement. This can be an ideal solution for some properties, but in many cases securing the post will demand skills that a machine can never possess.
The primary goal of all security systems is to deter an intrusion before it happens. While all visible security measures have a deterrence factor, no fully automated system can be as effective as an active authority figure on site, capable of making what they judge to be the best possible reaction to any incident with no delay while the automated systems contact police or the property owner. Security personnel are often required to interact with workers and visitors, which has many benefits including fostering the feeling of being protected.
Many times a security officer will need to mediate on events, or make other judgment calls, for example determining that someone is too intoxicated to be allowed to enter an event. The value perhaps proves itself most when an incident does occur, and the security officer immediately becomes the first eyewitness. A human can always put more detail and more relevant facts in their reports, and cover the gaps such as sound or the area outside a camera’s field of view. A video recording of an incident backed with a report offers an unparalleled illustration on what the facts of the situation were. If only one of those assets is available, determining the full details of the incident can be much more difficult, if not impossible.
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.