Securing the Physical Perimeter, Part 2: What You Need to Know About Lighting, Intrusion Detection, and Access Points

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In our previous installment of Securing the Physical Perimeter, we discussed natural obstructions, fencing, signage, bollards, and security gates. This week, we’ll tackle a few additional layers to your physical defense strategy: lighting, detection, and key points of access.

Lighting Detects and Deters

It probably goes without saying that criminals and trespassers would rather not be seen by vigilant security guards or be recorded by HD video surveillance. While fences, security gates, and warning signs are great, if your landscaping provides too much cover, these physical measures may not act as much of a deterrent. A strong fencing solution coupled with a well-designed perimeter landscaping and lighting plan, however, is a great combination. Quite simply, intruders are much less likely to enter well-illuminated areas for fear of being seen. Lighting not only detects, but it deters and aids cameras and security personnel in capturing evidence and assessing threat levels.

The kind of lighting you choose to install makes a difference, too. In his book, Physical Security and Environmental Protection, John Perdikaris writes, “When lighting the grounds of a facility, widely distributed low-intensity lighting is generally superior to small patches of high-intensity lighting because the latter can have a tendency to create blind spots for security personnel and CCTV cameras. It is important to place lighting in a manner that makes it difficult to tamper with (e.g. suspending lights from tall poles), and to ensure that there is a backup power supply so that security lights will not go out if the electricity is cut off.”

Access Points

In addition to lighting your far perimeter gates, consider illuminating your facility’s doors, loading docks, windows, fire escapes and other entrance points as well. Don’t forget HVAC vents, manholes, storm grates, roof openings, and mechanical areas as potential access points. Every vulnerable point of entry should be protected to prevent break-ins. Working with a licensed and certified security provider helps to ensure that your access points are both identified and well protected.

Intrusion Detection

Unfortunately, if someone really, really wants to break through your fence, they will. However, intrusion detection devices such as motion sensors, passive infrared technology, CCTV, HD cameras, and alarms bring a technological layer into your perimeter defense strategy. When you combine physical barriers and technology with a clear and documented process for dealing with alerts and alarms, then you’re well on your way to having a strong perimeter defense strategy.

Surveillance cameras, both CCTV and cloud-based solutions, that allow for recording and playback can also be useful as a deterrent. Cameras, in conjunction with fencing, send a clear message that your facility is serious about security. It is important to consider your environment, location, power sources, monitoring, and desired image quality before installing cameras.

Alarm systems like motion sensors, motion-activated lighting, door and window alarms provide facilities with peace of mind, but these systems are only as effective as the staff that monitors your property. “Alarms are only useful if there is a prompt response when they are triggered. In the reconnaissance phase prior to an actual attack, some intruders will test the response time of security personnel to a deliberately tripped alarm system. By measuring the length of time it takes for a security team to arrive (if they arrive at all), the attacker can determine if an attack could succeed before authorities arrive to neutralize the threat” (Perdikaris).

For more information on improving your perimeter security or to arrange for a security assessment and consultation, contact Herring Technology today.

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