When you think of perimeter security, what are the first things that come to mind? Perhaps, fencing, gates, barbed wires, and other physical barriers? You might even be asking, “What is perimeter security?”
Based on the term “perimeter,” you know it means outermost parts or boundary of an area. In terms of a business, perimeter refers to the edges of the property. Security means “the state of being protected or safe from danger or harm.”
Therefore, perimeter security means taking action to protect the area within the boundary. The goals are to maintain safety, keep intruders out, and reduce crime. Perimeter security is more than protecting the building on the property. It also includes the areas outside of the building or facility such as the loading docks, pedestrian traffic, parking lot or garage, and landscaping.
Businesses have a variety of ways they can secure the perimeter. They often have more than one option in place because multilayered security offers greater protection. For example, a barbed fence alone can be easily bypassed. The trespasser simply cuts the barbed wire and enters. The same can happen with a fence. Fortunately, perimeter security has come a long way from the days of barbed wires and fencing.
Perimeter security isn’t just about putting up physical barriers. Technology like video surveillance and sensors play a big part in bolstering security and protecting property.
The Role of Video Surveillance in Perimeter Security
Studies show video surveillance systems deter intruders and help solve crimes. Jennifer King and her colleagues at the University of California Berkeley Law have conducted a six-month study of the San Francisco Community Safety Camera Program. The study has found when cameras were present, it led to a large decrease in property crimes.
Crooks may not notice the cameras right away. Therefore, it’s important to have signs posted around the property saying the area is under surveillance. In summary, the presence of security cameras and warning signs make a difference in deterring crime.
Many cities are adding and expanding the number of video surveillance cameras posted around the city. The growing number of city governments investing in video surveillance has resulted in the Urban Institute doing a study on the use of public surveillance cameras to prevent crime. The report has found Baltimore’s crime rate fell by more than an average of 30 incidents a month after installing security camera systems.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had cameras installed around the city because they provide safety on a daily basis. As a result, crime fell almost 12 percent, the average monthly crime for violent crime dropped by 20 percent, and robbery dropped by one-third. The city credits video surveillance for all these decreases.
Data from Baltimore and Chicago show the savings from reducing crime rates exceeded the cost of the cameras. Baltimore gets 50 cents back for every dollar spent. And Chicago? They save $815,000 a month on criminal justice costs as well as the victims’ financial and emotional costs.
The Urban Institute report revealed something interesting. Crime remained the same in one Chicago neighborhood. It turned out residents thought no one was watching the cameras. Thus, video surveillance with monitoring decreases deterrence. That’s why it’s important to post “area under surveillance” signs, so people know someone is watching the cameras.
Adding Monitoring to Video Surveillance
As stated before, security cameras alone aren’t as effective as video surveillance with remote monitoring. Recall that one Chicago neighborhood ignored the cameras because they thought no one was watching. Security cameras with no one watching them turns the cameras into reactive security. This means nothing happens until someone realizes there has been a disturbance on the property. Then, they have to search hours of footage to find out what happened.
Additionally, unwatched cameras give people a false sense of security. When they see the “area under surveillance” signs and the cameras, they often assume someone is monitoring the cameras. If it turns out no one is monitoring the cameras, then it could become a liability issue. On the flip side, you have someone watching the cameras, then remote video surveillance can help reduce liability.
Another important factor is for the people monitoring the security cameras to be trained. They don’t simply watch a bunch of video screens. They’re trained to catch things before they become issues. They know what action to take based on the scenario.
As for actions the trained operators take, you can add another layer of security by including voice-down audio. This lets the trained monitoring operator issue an audio warning without being on the property. They can see the suspect. The suspects can’t see the operator, but they can hear them.
If the suspect does not leave, then the trained monitoring operator can call the police. The operator can stay on the call until the police arrive on the property. Meanwhile, the operator can track the suspect’s actions until the police locate the suspect.
There are rare instances when the intruder works too quickly and leaves the property before the police arrive. Unfortunately for the suspect, the cameras recorded all their movements. The security team can pull up the recording and share it with law enforcement. This will help them to identify the suspect and arrest them.
Trained monitoring operators don’t work alone. There’s another element that increases the effectiveness of remote video surveillance
Integrating Video Analytics to Video Surveillance
Video surveillance that integrates video analytics helps automate the technology to increase the effectiveness of perimeter security. The capability of video analytics is like having computerized eyes on the entire property. They can automatically detect scenarios in real-time, such as human motion or specific behaviors.
The advantage of automated computer monitoring is to help reduce false alarms. They will not alert the human operator of a scenario after determining something as a false alarm, such as animals or flying debris. This reduces the human monitoring operator’s load and allows them to focus on real emergencies.
Video analytics can detect unusual behavior or perpetrators in areas where visitors are not typically present. The technology will identify basic attributes, such as height, clothing colors, vehicle type, and color. This partnership between technology and humans allows the operators to spend less time on scanning and more time on decision-making and response.
Providing Video Verification Speeds up Police Response Time
Remote video surveillance with video analytics and trained monitoring operators greatly lower false alarms. It’s critical to quickly differentiate the false alarms and actual incidents. No one wants to send emergency personnel to a property that ends up being a false alarm.
Unfortunately, 94 to 98% of alarms are false according to a report from Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS). The paper states every false alarm wastes approximately 20 minutes of police time. That’s huge.
In addition to wasting emergency personnel’s time, false alarms can be expensive for the property as well as emergency personnel. Every geographical location has its own policies for false alarms. Businesses sometimes have to pay a fee. The International Association of Chiefs of Police says that false alarms cost police departments up to 6.5 million personnel hours and $600 million in a year according toa CBS report called, “Burglar Alarms Won’t Answer.”
Video verification greatly reduces false alarms. Arizona State University’s COPS study has proven this. It reports that false alarms fall by a massive 90 percent in cities with an ordinance that requires alarm companies to verify an alarm is real by a video camera or phone.
How does video verification speed up police response time? Security companies like Stealth have a partnership with police departments in cities across North America. The emergency services team knows it’s a real alarm when they get a call from Stealth.
Video verification does more than eliminate false alarms and shorten police response times. With video surveillance proactively deterring crimes, businesses don’t typically have to deal with the repercussions of a crime. Even if the damage is covered by insurance, getting the payout isn’t fast. Many businesses can’t afford to wait around for the insurance payout. This forces them to unexpectedly spend money on replacements, which hurts cash flow.
In some cases, the business has no choice but to shut down. It could be the damage rendered the facility dangerous. In one case, thieves pilfered the air conditioning units. This creates unsafe working conditions.
Video surveillance can help lower your risk of crime. As a reward, your insurance company may lower your premiums. The more layers of security you have in place, the greater the chances of preventing crime and damage. Video surveillance with remote monitoring, video analytics, and video verification helps ensure your property is well-monitored and emergency personnel arrive in the shortest time possible.
To learn more about video surveillance and its ROI, download and read 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.