The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2006

This "week that was" was driven by school security. With three school shootings (Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), the issue of school violence finally hit home to many Americans. Yes, Columbine struck a nerve so many years ago, but I think that until these most recent incidents, school violence was perceived as isolated incidents. Certainly not anymore...not when people start to understand the death tolls these incidents can ring up, and the community scarring that will last decades.

It's been said that security only becomes top-of-mind after an incident, and unfortunately I think that's still true. Security directors get more calls to their department after a breach. Dealers get calls for system installs after someone's been broken into. Again, it's sad, but true, and as an industry we need to move now while communities are ready to improve their schools' security

Here at, we're fortunate to have access to the news from newspapers across America, and if there was one thing that the municipal reporters were covering this week, it was what their local school districts were doing to improve security for students. And if there was one message from their editorial pages, it was an advocacy call that more resources be dedicated to school security.

Fortunately, right now, you have administrators, parents, and politicians on the same page. Notoriously tight school budgets are being re-examined to see if they can find funding for school resource officers, camera systems, response policy training, and visitor management systems. If, as an industry, we're not able to provide schools security tools right now (from assessments to electronic systems), then those budget monies will slowly retreat away, as will local interest in security, and you'll once again find administrators and the county school boards more interested in funding new bleachers for the football field rather than funding student safety.

If you want to see what's happening around the U.S. on school security, just visit the SIW Educational/Institutional Security page, where we've been able to publish a number of guest columns advocating increased security, and local news explaining how middle-America's municipalities are currently approaching school security.

Three Things Dealers Could Really Use:
A crystal ball, a new ordinance and an extension

1. Residential security system dealers, what if you could have this? In the Stockton area of England, the police are developing a system that would predict burglaries by identifying "at risk" houses. The system, known as Operation Crystal (as in crystal ball, I suppose) uses local robbery data to cluster potential theft locations.

2. Milwaukee-area dealers who install video systems, pay attention. The town is examining a potential ordinance that would require nightclub owners to install surveillance cameras both inside and outside their clubs, under the auspices of controlling or creating evidence on unruly patrons. A similar ordinance was enacted in New York City in the past year.

3. Could you use an extension on the AMPS sunset date (currently Feb. 18, 2008)? ADT Security Services is arguing that the industry needs an extension of support for analog systems. The company cites the high number of systems that would need to be changed over, and the challenge installers and service techs have faced in not being able to find the correct equipment to replace the old back-up technology. The nationally known alarm company made an appeal this week to the FCC –- something that the AICC has already done as well –- to extend the deadline so alarm companies and alarm customers don't get caught in the technology shortfall.

Also in the news this week:
Registered traveler program expands, casino security integration and cash-handling attacks

Verified Identity Pass and Saflink are the two companies trying to land the registered traveler program at the Albany, N.Y., airport. The challenge so far has been getting a big enough network to make the program useful to biz travelers. The "Clear" program of Verified Identity Pass, for example, works great if you're flying from JFK's Terminal 7 to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, but if you're bouncing from Atlanta to Chicago (the two busiest airports in the U.S.), sit back and be ready to stand in the regular security checkpoint lines.

There's something about casino security stories we all love. Maybe that's because the casinos usually have a bit larger budgets than most security directors receive, or because the systems at these resorts can be models of scale and technology, or maybe just because deep at heart, you'd love to have a casino's treasury in your own pocket (you can want that and still live honestly), stories of casino security are a hook. It was the same this week when SIW noted that Steve Wynn had completed the Wynn Macau casino, complete with a 2,000-camera system that even integrated into the point-of-sale systems at the in-resort retailers and restaurants. The job was completed by N.J.-based integrator North American Video.

A week ago, we had a photo from an attempted heist of a cash-transit delivery on our homepage. At the time, we were noting the trend of these robberies in African and in some European nations. Well, it seems the U.S. is not immune. In Queens, a man managed to toss an armored-truck delivery for $150,000. Even worse, in Oakland, a Brink's cash-handling officer was left dead after a hit on a cash handling vehicle there – an incident which police are now saying may have been an inside job. The worst incident, still, was back in S. Africa, which saw the death of four security officers, when their vehicle was forced off the road, then doused with gasoline while they were still inside.

Finally, our most read stories of the week...See what your peers are reading: