Setting Up a Security System
Whether you are updating, or starting from scratch, building security is a must in this day and age. Building security’s greatest purpose is to discourage thievery and any other wrong doings such as trespassing, or vandalism. Its secondary purpose would have to be sufficiently collecting the evidence needed to convict the person(s) involved in any crime committed. It’s easy to start planning after you look at the property both as a whole, and in parts.
“When designing a physical security program, the three levels you need to protect are your outer perimeter, your inner perimeter, and your interior.” (1) The outer perimeter is within the property lines, but still outside the building. You want to guide the guests to where they need to be the best you can, that way, it is easier to tell when someone is where they should not be. Besides strategically placed bushes and walkways some other quick fixes to outer perimeter security include setbacks and bollards. The biggest deterrent to criminal activity is the visibility of video cameras on the property outside. (2)
“A building setback…in regards to land development is the distance the building is setback from a street, alley, property line or road.” (3) Setbacks are mostly enforced to keep buildings from being built too close together to prevent any potential fires from spreading. The only other reason I could think to make sure the building has plenty of setbacks is because you would have more control over how you plan to secure it. Plus, an intruder’s sense of risk would certainly go up as they now have more ground to cover before they even reach the actual building. Bollards are columns of various materials that help guide or restrict visitors’ foot or vehicle movements on the property. When placed nearest the road, they are a good buffer between visitors and vehicle accidents. (4)
The inner perimeter includes all the possible entryways into the building; Windows and doors mostly, unless there are some other possible entrances that are big enough for human access. Three different layers of security you can add are: locks and keys, electronic access control systems, and alarm systems. For the more old-fashioned, the locks and keys are a good physical way to keep most people out; just keep track of your keys and of anyone else who has been entrusted with a set. The electronic access control system, scanning/swiping cards for access, is best when the building does not allow regular visitors. Employees can come and go freely while attempting visitors can speak with someone to get a temporary pass, or get assigned an escort that does have a pass, etc. Again, just keep track of who has what access. An alarm system is the most useful at night and could serve as an extra level of protection on any locations in the building that warrant high security.
The interior of the building often requires stricter controls than the exterior. The electronic access control system is again a good idea for keeping people out of places they do not need to be even once they are inside the building. Some employees will have more access than others; keep track of who they are. Criminal activity can occur from within the building as well, so if you have video cameras, they need to be hidden so blind spots cannot be found out easily. (3) In situations requiring heightened security, patrolling security guards are helpful in the building interior as well as the outside perimeter.
Overall, lighting is the best at preventing crime. Most crimes don’t happen during the day, and they certainly are not likely to happen during business hours. I’ve seen shop boutiques down main streets have lights on in the front after closing, grocery stores with their parking lot lights shining all night while also having some lights on in their interiors. I’ve even seen buildings still in the middle of construction, have their lights on in the middle of the night, despite no one being around to use them. Parking decks definitely have lights blazing at all times, but at least some are more energy conscience than others by using motion sensors to increase or decrease the amount of light that is put off at a time. All that being said, you can have all the building security in the world, but bad things will still happen, although perhaps less frequently and bearing lighter consequences than without. Nevertheless, having solid preventative security measures in place makes everyone feel a lot safer in the long run. This way everyone knows that when something does happen, there will at least be some idea of who did it, and they will be served their justice in time.