The security week that was: 03/28/08

Violence in Hospitals

Healthcare security normally doesn’t hit the national news, unless we’re talking about some egregious loss of patient data records. Unfortunately, this morning we posted a story about a shooting at a Georgia hospital where a disgruntled family member of a former patient has reportedly shot and killed three persons (it seems that it was two employees and an unidentified man who may have been a visitor).

These kinds of incidents bring back some core issues, the first being “how do we secure an environment that has traditionally been designed as open and comforting?” One of the options, of course, would be to take a courthouse security route, with visitors being moved through X-ray/metal detection stations to identify would-be threats, like the two guns this shooter was reported as carrying. Is such a security plan reasonable, though, considering the emotional state of users and the facility traffic habits of those persons? Is it even cost-effective considering how rare these incidents are?

Without a doubt, a good security assessment would point out this kind of risk, but even with the risk identified, you’d still have to ask those two questions, and I’d have to guess that a choice of scanning and searching visitors and would-be patients would get the “REJECTED” stamp by most hospital administrators and financial directors. The response might be to consider arming security officers, but the hospital environment, where a stray bullet could cause irreparable harm, has not often embraced armed security inside the facilities (outlying areas like parking garages and facility grounds might be OKed for armed security).

I’ve put up a thread in our discussion forums; if you’ve been involved at any level of hospital security, please weigh in and suggest the response and prevention measures for these types of incidents.

Video is big; everyone wants in
Research points to big growth; firms trying to find their way to this market

We reported on news from ABI Research that predicts “explosive growth for video surveillance.” No surprise there, really. What’s interesting to watch is the number of companies trying to jump on this trend. We picked up a column from an electrician’s magazine that exhorted electrical contractors to consider video surveillance. We also hosted a webinar on “Taking the Stress out of Surveillance” (you can watch the archived version). In hosting that program, we saw a number of firms ready to jump on this surveillance bandwagon, including a lot of dealer firms that have traditionally offered only intrusion detection and access control.

More news shaping your industry
Securing access control, University's stadium surveillance, advertising and cameras

A company named China Security & Surveillance landed a big municipal surveillance project, and we noted that one of the unique things about the project is that the company also gets the rights to sell advertising on the poles that the city’s surveillance cameras will be mounted upon. … We love hearing when organized retail theft groups are caught. There’s this story and this story about breaking these shoplifting groups if you love security success stories. … We reported recently about a MIFARE hack, and it reminded the editors here about a piece that HID’s Michael Davis wrote for the November 2007 issue of Security Technology & Design. It’s a must read on keeping physical access control systems truly secure. ... We also heard of a massive security/surveillance project at the stadium for the University of Georgia (Athens, Ga.). They're planning a high-tech surveillance project that could closely watch the fans for security issues. The system supposedly will be able to look at fans at the individual face level.

Catch up with us at ISC West
SIW, ST&D, SD&I and Locksmith Ledger at booths 5143, 4145 is hosting a small meet-n-greet for our regulars at ISC West. If you are a member of our discussion forums or just like what seeks to provide for our industry, come by and meet some others with like attitudes. This is casual and laid-back and we’re not doing much to promote it – just a way for people to do quick bit of networking during a busy show. The time will be at 3 p.m. at our booth at the ISC West show, #5143. Our magazines are right across the aisle in booth #4145. Even if you can’t make it at our networking meet-n-greet, pop by either of the booths to say hello.

Finally, here's a look at the most popular articles from this week on