The world has changed. You've heard this refrain many times in recent months. This is especially true for security. The advent of COVID-19 exposed many security holes that organizations did not notice before. Add to that, crime went up in the year of the pandemic.
As a result, companies are doing a review of their physical security to find areas of improvement.
The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, or CCJ, has reported on the following findings:
David S. Abrams, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has completed a report titled COVID and Crime: An Early Empirical Look. The purpose of the study was to determine if the pandemic has affected crime rates in U.S. cities.
The good news is personal property crime has declined. The bad news is commercial property crime climbed. Abram's study reveals an increase in commercial property burglaries by an average of almost 40 percent across all the cities studied. This is not surprising because more people are at home while many commercial properties have been empty or mostly empty.
Both studies reported a spike in vehicle theft. Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia have been hit the hardest. Put these two studies together and it's clear companies need to have eyes on their parking lots and garages.
Will these trends change as more people receive the vaccine? Not anytime soon. Some companies may switch to remote working permanently or allow a hybrid where employees work in the office part-time. That means commercial properties will remain vulnerable to thefts and vandalism for a while longer.
Parking lots being empty or close to it send signals to prospective criminals that an opportunity is waiting for them. This is a big problem for buildings with a few people inside working. Those people are at risk. Intruders may not know that they are in the building and the situation could turn dangerous if they decide to break-in.
All of these together require businesses to reevaluate their security plans. Fortunately, security technology innovation has accelerated in recent years. There may be something out there for your business to adopt.
Revamping the security plan starts by looking at what security systems your business has today. You will think about your goals and purpose of security. Ask yourself these questions.
What's the goal of security? Is it about protecting your business from theft, liability, and damage? Is it time to integrate security? Do you need to keep track of who enters and exits the building? What is the process for people who are not residents or employees to enter the building?
Clearly, the security challenges have changed. Security technology has advanced. For example, many people do not upgrade their computer for years. Eventually, the operating system gets outdated. When this happens, the computer is at a greater risk for security threats. Besides that, many apps may not work properly anymore as they are no longer supported for the older systems.
So, what technologies should you be investigating? Here are the three big ones that are the future of security and available now.
How many times have you encountered a false alarm? Many harmless things can set it off. It could be the door wasn't shut properly. It could be dust in the alarm system. It could be an alarm system malfunction.
Maybe it'd be easier to flip the question. How many alarms were real?
The chances are good that you've had quite a few false alarms and only one real alarm, maybe even zero. According to research from Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS), 94 to 98 percent of alarms are false.
ASU can't provide exact numbers because reporting varies by jurisdiction. The eye-opening part of the report says every false alarm uses up about 20 minutes of police time. In addition to false alarms wasting first responders' time, they also put the real emergency at risk. Instead of responding to a true emergency, they waste their resources going someplace where there isn't a problem. Wouldn't you rather they go to a robbery or a fire?
In addition to squandering city resources, a false alarm can be costly for the business as well as for the police and fire departments. The International Association of Chiefs and Police says false alarms cost police departments $600 million a year and up to 6.5 million personnel hours.
Some cities charge for false alarms. Every city has different regulations for how they charge for false alarms. Some don't charge for the first false alarm and start charging for alarms after that. The price tends to increase with each incident.
This isn't an American-only problem. Canada also charges for false alarms. A REMI article says the average cost of false alarms for apartments and condos is close to $1,400 per incident. Small buildings could pay roughly $500 for each vehicle that responds.
Fortunately, there's technology to prevent the penalties and costs involved with false alarms. It's called alarm verification. The way it works is that whenever an alarm goes off, the security company will do alarm verification using audio or video technology. Video verification through video surveillance has a better chance of working because no one may be answering the audio verification.
Sounds simple, doesn't it, but how well does it work? According to another ASU COPS resource by Rana Sampson, some cities have an ordinance requiring alarm companies to do alarm verification by phone or video camera. Those that do have seen false alarms drop by a substantial 90 percent!
ASU references Salt Lake City as an example as the city requires visual verification. How did it pan out?
"By significantly reducing the number of calls to which officers needed to respond, the Salt Lake City Police Department gained an equivalent of five full-time officers, decreased the workload of call-takers and dispatchers, and decreased the response time to other calls for service," Sampson writes. "Area alarm industry representatives cited increased revenues (as a result of the service charge applied for verification) and similar sales levels to those before the verified response policy."
Sampson credits three things for reducing false alarms:
Security companies like Stealth Monitoring have a relationship with law enforcement. Stealth monitors video surveillance cameras. When an issue arises, they contact emergency personnel. First responders are more likely to respond faster because they know Stealth does alarm verification before contacting them.
With video surveillance capturing everything occurring on the entire property, it quickly creates an overwhelming amount of data. On top of this, the data stored contains lots of information about the data. This is called metadata. It includes IP addresses, camera frame rates, and other classes and attributes.
Metadata makes it possible for security analysts to quickly search for events. The more metadata there is, the faster they'll be able to locate the needed footage. Data analytics also helps organizations automate security to flag specific scenarios.
Deep learning is an artificial intelligence tool that can analyze a scenario and understand what's happening. For example, a plastic grocery bag blows across the property is a non-event. You wouldn't want a false alarm from a plastic bag. Artificial intelligence can distinguish whether the scenario is a problem or a false alarm.
The other part of the equation is the human operator. When AI spots something, it alerts the monitoring operator who checks it out and acts as needed.
Artificial intelligence in video surveillance can mean the difference between responding to a real alarm and skipping over the false ones. Not all security companies have deep knowledge in this area. If you're interviewing security companies, ask about this.
Cloud-based security solutions allow a company to access on-site security systems from anywhere and respond to potential threats before anything happens. This puts eyes and ears on the business to give employees control over its physical security and gain operational insights.
With cloud access control, an organization can remotely manage security processes without physically being on site. As an example, they can add or revoke employee access from any connected device or computer. Maybe an emergency has come up inside the building, the employee on-call does not have access to the room where the emergency is located.
Cloud access control can give that person temporary access to resolve the emergency and then revoke it once the person solves the problem.
If a delivery person needs to get into the building to drop off a package, the company can use a cloud access control system to talk to the delivery person. This lets them confirm the delivery person is legitimate. Once confirmed, they can allow them into the building. You avoid the cost of having someone posted at the front entrance and security guards.
Another useful cloud access control feature is mobile identification. This is a contactless process that allows employees to use their phones to enter secure areas. The phone will act like an ID badge. They will not have to touch a keypad to gain access.
The cloud has made it possible for video surveillance to do so much more than in the past. No more saving everything on media like discs that had to be replaced whenever it filled up. No longer do you need to dig through the library of discs or other media to find the footage you need. No longer do you need to be physically at the computer storing the footage to search it.
Cloud video surveillance allows people to watch the cameras and search footage remotely. For instance, an apartment building has video surveillance located all around the property and inside the building. It forgoes hiring security guards. Instead, it relies on remote security guards that are a combination of artificial and human intelligence.
Because of remote access and the ability to see an entire property in one sitting, remote video surveillance is one of the hottest security technologies. It also provides a quick ROI. How many security guards would you need to have eyes on your entire property? The more guards you need, the higher the cost. Video surveillance can cost up to 60 percent less.
Another advantage of cloud video surveillance is that it can be scaled up or down. If you expand the property, you can add more video cameras to ensure coverage.
You may be wondering about data security of cloud video surveillance. It's more secure because it does not rely on open ports, on-site firewalls, or on-premises software. These are all threats that have been eliminated with cloud video surveillance. Traditional on-premises video surveillance is the one with the high-security risk
Thanks to the cloud, companies can do many things remotely. There's no doubt that more remote services will come out in the near future. With remote services, companies can accomplish many tasks from any connected device without being on the property.
Here are some available remote services:
Many of these features can be part of an integrated security system that includes video surveillance and access control.
Video surveillance services do more than deter crime and prevent false alarms. Businesses implement security technology to boost security, enhance processes, and monitor the property around-the-clock. Video cameras help protect your company's most important assets by maintaining safety while preventing theft of information and things.
To learn more about the future security technology available today and its ROI, check out this free guide on Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals. If you'd like to discuss your requirements or meet with a security expert in your industry, please contact us.