Chapter 3 – Security

Physical Security

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of loss prevention is physical security. Put simply, physical security is the protection of people, property, and assets. It is absolutely foundational. Preventing loss means protecting employees and customers from harm, protecting products, data, and services from being stolen, and protecting the integrity of perimeters and structures.

Every component of a physical security system must function properly at all times, without exception. Any equipment breakdown, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, should be considered an unacceptable exposure and should be repaired immediately. Even the slightest vulnerability in this area at the wrong time or the wrong place could result in a catastrophic loss.

There are several components to consider when evaluating or designing a physical security system strategy. From alarm systems to lighting systems to CCTV systems, there is so much to consider. The location of a facility will affect its physical security needs. Other factors such as demographics and topography will affect them as well. It is important to consider these things when evaluating the need for various physical security components.

  • Intrusion Alarm Systems are designed to detect and deny intruders from gaining access to assets. They are composed of several different devices, each with a specific purpose. In short, these systems ensure that detection devices are installed in and adequately cover areas of specific vulnerabilities. When these devices are triggered, the intrusion alarm system performs various functions to deny any further progression into a facility.
    • Motion Detectors
      • These devices do exactly what their name implies – detect motion. When motion is detected by these devices, they send a signal to the intrusion alarm system panel. These signals can be used to do several things i.e. activate lighting, activate sirens, send notifications, and even activate bollards. There are several types of motion detectors.
        • Infrared motion detectors use electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than those of visible light and shorter than radio waves. It is invisible to the human eye. 
        • Ultrasonic motion sensors use sound with frequencies greater than 20 kilohertz. This frequency is at the upper audible limit of human hearing in young adults. The physical principles of acoustic waves apply to ultrasound, like any other frequency range.
        • Passive infrared sensors are electronic sensors that measure infrared light radiating from objects. These are most often used in PIR-based motion detectors. PIR sensors are commonly used in security alarms, access control, and automatic lighting applications.
        • Active motion sensors are based on radar technology. They work by transmitting and receiving radio waves that boomerang when hitting a moving object. These are commonly used in intrusion alarm systems.
        • Vibration motion sensors detect minute vibrations as objects or people move within an area.
        • Microwave sensors use continuous waves of microwave radiation to detect motion, similar to how a radar speed gun works.
        • CCTV systems can also serve as motion detectors by evaluating pixel changes within a specified area. When the threshold for pixelation changes is exceeded, motion is detected and a signal is sent to the intrusion alarm system.
    • Door Contacts
      • Door Contacts are an integral part of a physical security system and can be mounted on a surface or recessed. These are simple, two-part switches composed of a magnetic device and a sensor body, which activate when separated. Typically used on door and window openings, they are designed to alert the intrusion alarm system panel when a door or window is opened. These devices can be used on virtually anything that opens i.e., a file cabinet door or a safe opening. There are several types of door contacts:
        • Overhead contact sensors.
        • ‍‍Roller ball contact sensors.
        • Surface mount door contact sensors.
        • ‍Pull-apart contact sensors.
        • ‍Recessed Contact Sensors.
    • Glass Break Detectors
      • Glass break detectors are sensors that are usually placed within 20 to 25 feet of glass to detect the vibration or sound of breaking. glass They are commonly used to identify breaking or flexing glass doors or storefront windows. When tripped by an audible or percussive sound a signal is sent to the intrusion alarm panel. There are two types of glass break detectors:
        • Acoustic sensors.
        • Shock sensors.
    • Sirens
      • Sirens are another critical component of an intrusion alarm system. They serve two main purposes:
        • First, they are used to alert others within earshot, that something needs attention at the siren’s location, drawing attention from neighbors and passers-by by emanating a loud and annoying sound.
        • The second use for sirens is to alert perpetrators to the fact that there is an active intrusion alarm system in place and that others are being alerted. In addition to this the siren, if loud enough, can become so irritating that it forces perpetrators to flee quickly, therefore mitigating loss. or damage.
    • Monitoring
      • Intrusion alarm systems are typically monitored by a security provider, which receives signals from intrusion alarm systems. Security providers typically utilize central station monitoring services. These are usually UL-listed facilities designed to maintain and monitor alarm signal connectivity to subscribed intrusion alarm systems, with redundant locations. There are essentially two types of monitoring services:
        • Central Station Alarm Monitoring
          • Central station monitoring is fairly standard for traditional intrusion alarm system monitoring. Essentially, when an alarm signal is received from an intrusion alarm system through a POTS (plain old telephone system) line, a cell phone transmitter, or a network signal; a central station alarm monitor would then follow an established protocol to alert necessary systems or persons to the alarm. This could mean reaching out to a police station or sheriff’s department for dispatch to the alarm location, or an individual responsible for the alarm location such as a business owner or manager.
        • Interactive Alarm Monitoring
          • Interactive alarm monitoring is similar to central station alarm monitoring yet different in that two-way communication and video verification can be utilized. This is typically associated with alarms wherein a video segment is included in the signal transmission to the central monitoring station. When a video signal is received, the video can be used to confirm the existence of a condition or a perpetrator to alert authorities. Some systems are also equipped with “talk down” capabilities, where a central station monitor can speak through the connection to the alarm location instructing intruders to leave the premises or alerting them to the fact that they are being watched and that authorities are en route to the alarm location.
  • Fire Alarm Systems
    • These systems are designed according to NFPA standards and are only serviced or installed by licensed NICET fire alarm technicians. They are designed to alert central monitoring stations that an initiating device such as a pull station, heat detector, smoke detector, or blown sprinkler head has been activated. They serve to detect and report fire characteristic values.
  • CCTV
    • Closed Circuit Television is the use of video cameras to transmit video to a specific place or set of monitors. It is different from traditional TV in that its signal is not openly transmitted, rather, transmitted from one point to another, or among multiple points within a network.
      • There are multiple types of CCTV cameras:
        • Dome cameras are used indoors and outdoors. They are wall-mounted. Their unique dome shape makes it difficult to determine the camera’s field of view. They are easy to install and have vandal-resistant features.
        • Bullet cameras are long and cylindrical. They are ideal for outdoor use and long-distance viewing. Their construction makes them ideal for outdoor use. They are easy to install, and usually have strong, protective cases.
        • C-Mount Cameras are ideal for indoor use. Their lenses are easily detachable, allowing for simple lens changes to fit a number of different applications and distances.
        • Day/Night Cameras are capable of operating well in low-light environments, capturing clear images where IR images will not suffice. They are ideal for surveillance applications.
        • PTZ Cameras are able to pan, tilt, and zoom, allowing them to capture video from left to right, up and down, and in varying distances. These cameras are ideal candidates for surveillance applications.
      • There are essentially two types of video recording systems:
        • DVR systems, or Digital Video Recording systems have been used for decades. They are the workhorse of most CCTV systems. They are cost effective, reliable, and capable of capturing high quality video footage.
        • NVR systems, or Network Video Recording systems are easy to install and are very easy to access remotely. They are flexible and provide a means to store video on the network and out of harm’s way.
  • Lighting
    • Lighting is an essential component of physical security. It creates a sense of safety. It also has significant deterrent value, making crime concealment much more difficult. Put simply, sufficient lighting shines the light on crime. The brighter an environment, the less likely it is for crime to occur. An example of this principle can be found in the truth that vehicle thefts are more prevalent in poorly lit areas (Levy & Tartaro, 2010) and “Improved street lighting is widely thought to be an effective means of preventing crime, second in importance only to increased police presence” (Clarke, 2008).
    • Aisle placement
    • Screamers
    • EAS
    • Blindspots
  • Perimeter Fencing
  • Bollards
  • Expandable Barriers

Cash Security

  • POS
  • Cash Office

Personnel Security

  • Background Checks
  • Training
  • Greeting

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